Cover for No Agenda Show 1224: CAPS
March 12th, 2020 • 3h 16m

1224: CAPS


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

Kung Flu
Flatten the curve
Remarks by President Trump in Address to the Nation | The White House
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:54
Oval Office
9:02 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans: Tonight, I want to speak with you about our nation's unprecedented response to thecoronavirus outbreak that started in China and is now spreading throughout the world.
Today, the World Health Organization officially announced that this is a global pandemic.
We have been in frequent contact with our allies, and we are marshalling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people.
This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history. I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens, and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus.
From the beginning of time, nations and people have faced unforeseen challenges, including large-scale and very dangerous health threats. This is the way it always was and always will be. It only matters how you respond, and we are responding with great speed and professionalism.
Our team is the best anywhere in the world. At the very start of the outbreak, we instituted sweeping travel restrictions on China and put in place the first federally mandated quarantine in over 50 years. We declared a public health emergency and issued the highest level of travel warning on other countries as the virus spread its horrible infection.
And taking early intense action, we have seen dramatically fewer cases of the virus in the United States than are now present in Europe.
The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.
After consulting with our top government health professionals, I have decided to take several strong but necessary actions to protect the health and wellbeing of all Americans.
To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight. These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground.
There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.
At the same time, we are monitoring the situation in China and in South Korea. And, as their situation improves, we will reevaluate the restrictions and warnings that are currently in place for a possible early opening.
Earlier this week, I met with the leaders of health insurance industry who have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing.
We are cutting massive amounts of red tape to make antiviral therapies available in record time. These treatments will significantly reduce the impact and reach of the virus.
Additionally, last week, I signed into law an $8.3 billion funding bill to help CDC and other government agencies fight the virus and support vaccines, treatments, and distribution of medical supplies. Testing and testing capabilities are expanding rapidly, day by day. We are moving very quickly.
The vast majority of Americans: The risk is very, very low. Young and healthy people can expect to recover fully and quickly if they should get the virus. The highest risk is for elderly population with underlying health conditions. The elderly population must be very, very careful.
In particular, we are strongly advising that nursing homes for the elderly suspend all medically unnecessary visits. In general, older Americans should also avoid nonessential travel in crowded areas.
My administration is coordinating directly with communities with the largest outbreaks, and we have issued guidance on school closures, social distancing, and reducing large gatherings.
Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.
Every community faces different risks and it is critical for you to follow the guidelines of your local officials who are working closely with our federal health experts '-- and they are the best.
For all Americans, it is essential that everyone take extra precautions and practice good hygiene. Each of us has a role to play in defeating this virus. Wash your hands, clean often-used surfaces, cover your face and mouth if you sneeze or cough, and most of all, if you are sick or not feeling well, stay home.
To ensure that working Americans impacted by the virus can stay home without fear of financial hardship, I will soon be taking emergency action, which is unprecedented, to provide financial relief. This will be targeted for workers who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to coronavirus.
I will be asking Congress to take legislative action to extend this relief.
Because of the economic policies that we have put into place over the last three years, we have the greatest economy anywhere in the world, by far.
Our banks and financial institutions are fully capitalized and incredibly strong. Our unemployment is at a historic low. This vast economic prosperity gives us flexibility, reserves, and resources to handle any threat that comes our way.
This is not a financial crisis, this is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world.
However, to provide extra support for American workers, families, and businesses, tonight I am announcing the following additional actions: I am instructing the Small Business Administration to exercise available authority to provide capital and liquidity to firms affected by the coronavirus.
Effective immediately, the SBA will begin providing economic loans in affected states and territories. These low-interest loans will help small businesses overcome temporary economic disruptions caused by the virus. To this end, I am asking Congress to increase funding for this program by an additional $50 billion.
Using emergency authority, I will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments, without interest or penalties, for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted. This action will provide more than $200 billion of additional liquidity to the economy.
Finally, I am calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief. Hopefully they will consider this very strongly.
We are at a critical time in the fight against the virus. We made a life-saving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe. We will not delay. I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health, and safety of the American people. I will always put the wellbeing of America first.
If we are vigilant '-- and we can reduce the chance of infection, which we will '-- we will significantly impede the transmission of the virus. The virus will not have a chance against us.
No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States. We have the best economy, the most advanced healthcare, and the most talented doctors, scientists, and researchers anywhere in the world.
We are all in this together. We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship, and unify together as one nation and one family.
As history has proven time and time again, Americans always rise to the challenge and overcome adversity.
Our future remains brighter than anyone can imagine. Acting with compassion and love, we will heal the sick, care for those in need, help our fellow citizens, and emerge from this challenge stronger and more unified than ever before.
God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you.
9:12 P.M. EDT
Major airlines, U.S. officials face impasse over coronavirus-related data - The Washington Post
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:39
U.S. officials are pressuring airline executives to turn over the email addresses and phone numbers of international passengers as the Trump administration tries to track who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, according to five people briefed on the situation.
Government officials have said they need the data so they can warn local authorities about who might have been exposed to the virus. But the airline industry has balked, saying the federal government should instead share information it already collects among different agencies and come up with a system for obtaining the rest.
The impasse has dragged on for weeks despite concerns about the growing number of people with coronavirus in the United States. It has become a top issue of the Trump administration's virus task force and U.S. lawmakers. Airline executives are slated to meet with Vice President Pence on Wednesday.
The airline industry has pushed Congress to intervene, with some lobbyists asking lawmakers to insert a provision in an emergency spending package that would effectively absolve the airlines of having to track some of the data.
Coronavirus live updates
A failure to resolve the issue could complicate the government's efforts to contain the outbreak's spread. United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines deferred questions to Airlines for America, a lobbying group that represents the airline industry. Airlines for America said collecting the data shouldn't be the airlines' job since the government already has much of it in existing databases. They also said it would take as long as a year for the airlines to set up a tracking system.
The battle over the data has taken on new urgency in recent days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking airlines to collect and '-- when ordered '-- submit data from passengers on select international flights within 24 hours in an electronic format. That data might include an email, a phone number and an address in the United States. In the event a passenger on a flight develops covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, that information would enable health officials to reach others who may have been exposed, a system known as ''contact tracing.'' On Feb. 7, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an interim rule requiring certain passenger data to be shared with federal officials.
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''Contact tracing is effective at reducing cases of communicable disease at the early stages of a potential outbreak if the contacts are notified as soon after initial exposure as possible,'' the CDC said when it announced the Feb. 7 policy. ''If an efficient contact system is not in place when the first ill passengers arrive, the benefits of the contact tracing are greatly diminished.''
The CDC has growing concerns about getting the information it needs for its contact tracing program, saying that under current regulations, it can take nearly two weeks to obtain the traveler data. Even then, some of the information is incomplete.
The passenger data issue has raised alarms at meetings of the U.S. coronavirus task force, according to an official at the Department of Health and Human Services, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about internal meetings. Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of homeland security, also flagged the issue during internal administration meetings Saturday, according to another official familiar with the discussions.
Officials say there is greater urgency given the Trump administration's new travel restrictions affecting Iran, Italy and South Korea. With cases emerging in recent days in Washington state, Oregon, Rhode Island, Florida and New York, the federal government and the airline industry face enormous pressure to put in place a tracking system amid fears of the coronavirus's spread.
Coronavirus recession fears grow as Wall Street investors brace for a wild week for stocks
''When the goal is containment, timing is of the essence,'' said Josh Michaud, associate director for global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. ''The earlier you are able to find these people, get them into testing and, if needed, quarantine, the more likely you are to prevent future spreading.''
In the three weeks since HHS's rule was put into effect, airlines have turned over some information, but it has been ''incomplete,'' according to the HHS official. U.S. officials want to know who was traveling on planes that were later determined to be transporting passengers who had the coronavirus. For example, if a passenger on a flight from Italy two weeks ago tested positive for the virus last week, CDC officials want to track down fellow passengers on that flight to monitor their health and determine who else might have been exposed.
Right now, when a plane from China lands in the United States, U.S. citizens who are not sick and not showing symptoms are given instructions at the airport to monitor themselves for symptoms, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. After they reach their final destination, they are supposed to stay home and monitor their health for 14 days from the time they left China. If they develop symptoms, they are supposed to contact their health-care providers and their local public health authorities.
The CDC wants passenger data from the airlines so the agency can pass it on to states and counties, allowing those front-line authorities to ''call in and check in on'' those individuals to make sure they are not sick, the official said. CDC officials regard this basic information as critical to efforts to control the spread of the virus.
The government can quarantine you for coronavirus, and there's almost nothing you can do about it
The airlines have been warning the government at least since the beginning of February that they lack the capacity to quickly set up a tracking system, said Nicholas E. Calio, CEO of Airlines for America. Creating the system could take a year or longer, Calio said, and airlines often do not have the necessary passenger information available to them if flights were booked with a third party.
Most of the airlines' current systems would have to be reprogrammed to collect additional data, and the airlines contend that they have no way of verifying that the information they receive is accurate.
''We have some of the information, but we don't have all of it,'' said Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice president for legislative and regulatory policy at Airlines for America.
In a letter to HHS, Calio wrote that roughly 74 percent of all passengers list a phone number and 56 percent list an email address in the ''passenger name record,'' a type of government database that tracks travelers. Calio also said that the airline industry was willing to work with the federal government to address any gaps.
Airline companies have asked Congress to require HHS to create a portal that sends passenger information to the CDC, according to a memo sent by industry lobbyists to lawmakers and described to The Washington Post.
Such a legislative measure would effectively absolve the airlines of having to track and send the information to the CDC, but it is unlikely to be approved when Congress takes up the broader emergency package this week, according to two congressional aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe fast-moving negotiations. Calio said the airlines are willing to pay to develop an online database in which travelers directly provide their information to the CDC.
Lawmakers are hoping to resolve the impasse quickly. In addition to the meeting between airline executives and Pence, airline lobbyists are also expected to meet this week with members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who chairs the panel's subcommittee on aviation and space.
Discovery Of 2 Strains Of COVID-19 Coronavirus Hints At How It Evolved
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:50
A Centers for Disease Control illustration of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images(Updated: 4:30 p.m. EST, March 4 2020)
Topline: Researchers at a Chinese university identified two separate strains of the Covid-19 coronavirus that could be sickening people in a new study Wednesday, and have called for further research, as 3,200 have died and 93,000 more have been infected by the disease worldwide.
The study, produced by researchers at Peking University's School of Life Sciences and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, found that two types of the coronavirus appeared to exist: a more aggressive one, and less aggressive one. The researchers analyzed 103 publicly available genomes from infected persons, and found 70% were the more aggressive type, while the less aggressive type comprised the other 30%. That more aggressive strain was found in early cases from Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus was thought to have originated from, and the researchers think it may have evolved from the less aggressive type. The virus likely went through ''mutations and natural selection besides recombination'' that caused it to develop different strains, according to the researchers. The researchers emphasized that the data used in the study is ''very limited'' and called for additional scientific investigation to understand the virus' evolution and epidemiology. Also on Wednesday: Reuters reported that a top Chinese medical association said the coronavirus incubation period is between five to seven days, with a maximum of 14 days Crucial quote: ''These findings strongly support an urgent need for further immediate, comprehensive studies that combine genomic data, epidemiological data, and chart records of the clinical symptoms of patients with coronavirus disease,'' the researchers wrote.
Big number: 3.4%. That's the global coronavirus mortality rate, according to the World Health Organization, which also said seasonal flu kills far fewer than 1% of infected people. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases say, however, that the Covid-19 death rate could be below 1%. Complicating this calculation is that there's no clear way to estimate how many people may be infected beyond the confirmed cases. The New York Times reported that the WHO's mortality rate does not factor in mild COVID-19 cases that don't require medical attention' '--and is further skewed by Wuhan's death rate, which is several times higher than the rest of China.
According to The Atlantic, the reported number of U.S. cases is far too low, due to flawed data-gathering processes by the Trump administration. The Times also reported that the CDC's first round of test kits were botched, causing delays in results. And, up until Monday, the CDC allowed few labs to conduct the tests, further compounding delays. Initially, the CDC also had a narrow range of criteria people had to meet before getting tested for the virus, which limited the number of tests that would be conducted. But by Tuesday, vice president Mike Pence said the White House was issuing guidance to make sure ''any American can be tested,'' according to the Seattle Times.
Key background: Although the death toll and number of infected people has increased across the world each day, China has seen a slowdown in its number of cases. According to Reuters, China's number of cases has been dropping since mid-February. The number of daily infections reported outside of China are now greater than those inside the country, which the Washington Post says could be due to China's ''draconian'' efforts to stop the disease's spread. As of Wednesday, the countries hardest-hit by coronavirus are South Korea (5,238 cases), Iran (2,992 cases) and Italy (2,262 cases). At least 100 cases and 9 deaths have been reported in the U.S., with four new reported cases in New York.
Influenza mortality rate INCLUDES pneumonia related deaths
Tom Hanks
Weather machine should be turned on to kill carona virus
Christina reports NO tests unless elderly and in hospital
The American people have already decided what they are going to do. Hunker down for two and a half weeks and then flatten the curve
Ruth Ginsberg must be monitored
Focus now off carona virus and focused on 2 conspiracy theories. 5G and belt and road punishment
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McLaren trekt zich terug voor GP Australi na positieve test teamlid | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 06:53
McLaren heeft zich donderdag teruggetrokken voor de Grand Prix van Australi, omdat een teamlid positief is getest op het coronavirus. De eerste Formule 1-race van het seizoen staat daardoor op losse schroeven.
Het teamlid van McLaren zit inmiddels in isolatie en staat onder toezicht van de lokale autoriteiten. De renstal vindt het vanwege die besmetting niet meer verantwoord om nog deel te nemen aan het eerste Grand Prix-weekend van het seizoen.
Ook vier teamleden van Haas hadden symptomen die konden duiden op het COVID-19-virus, maar zij testten allemaal negatief in Melbourne.
De kans is desondanks groot dat de Formule 1 door de terugtrekking van McLaren alsnog besluit om de Grand Prix af te gelasten. Over het hele weekend worden 300.000 fans verwacht rondom het Albert Park Circuit.
Mercedes-coureur en regerend wereldkampioen Lewis Hamilton zei eerder op donderdag bij zijn persconferentie al verbaasd te zijn dat de Grand Prix van Australi nog niet is afgelast. "Het is echt schokkend dat we hier in deze ruimte zitten en ik ben heel erg verrast dat we hier zijn."
Mocht de Grand Prix in Australi inderdaad worden afgelast, dan is de Grand Prix in Bahrein op 22 maart de eerste race op de kalender. Die race wordt wel zonder publiek afgewerkt. Eerder werd de Grand Prix van China (19 april) afgelast.
Dit bericht wordt aangevuld.
Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Would Dwarf the 2008 Bank Bailout - The New York Times
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 06:43
WASHINGTON '-- Almost overnight, President Trump has gone from insisting the economy would not need fiscal help to weather the coronavirus to proposing a stimulus plan that would cost more than the 2008 Wall Street bank bailout or the 2009 stimulus bill aimed at digging the United States out of a deep recession.
The centerpiece of Mr. Trump's stimulus proposal, which remains a work in progress, is a temporary tax cut that by itself would add nearly $1 trillion to the national debt: a suspension of all Social Security payroll taxes through the end of the year. Some economists have cheered the idea as the right move at a fraught moment when workers are quarantined, schools are closing and large gatherings are being canceled.
But others '-- including those who have called for aggressive congressional action '-- say the plan would be an inefficient way of stoking consumer demand at a time of supply shortages and a growing number of quarantines.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have given the proposal a cool reception. Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters on Wednesday that he did not see a need for immediate action on a payroll tax cut. Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, said Wednesday that the proposal was a ''nonstarter.''
Mr. Trump and his top advisers have pitched the cut as a much-needed lift for consumers and businesses at a time when the spreading virus is beginning to chill economic activity. ''The payroll tax holiday is probably the most important, powerful piece of this,'' Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters on Tuesday.
Under Mr. Trump's plan '-- as described by Peter Navarro, one of his economic advisers '-- the government would, through the end of the year, stop collecting the 6.2 percent Social Security tax currently taken out of workers' paychecks and the 1.45 percent tax taken for Medicare. It would also suspend equally large taxes paid on behalf of workers by their employers. Self-employed workers would be relieved of the entire 15.3 percent tax they currently pay.
For workers, earnings that are no longer subject to the payroll tax would now be subject to federal income taxes. Because lower-paid workers have lower marginal income tax rates, they would see a slightly larger percentage increase in their pay than workers with higher salaries. Some extremely high-paid workers would not see an increase at all because payroll taxes are capped by income, and some workers are close to '-- or have already reached '-- that limit. This means they are not set to have any Social Security taxes taken out for the rest of the year.
As a general rule, the largest percentage income gains would go to households earning up to $250,000 a year, according to calculations by the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington. The largest gains in dollar figures would go to households earning more than $123,000 a year, according to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in Washington.
How much individual workers would save depends partly on their employers. If an employer's half of payroll taxes was lifted, they would need to decide whether to pass those savings directly to workers in the form of higher pay. Some economists see both sides of that equation as beneficial at a time of slowing economic activity.
The full payroll tax suspension ''would not only increase workers' take-home pay but would ease cash flow constraints for employers who are likely to face a rough patch in the incoming months,'' said Karl Smith, the vice president of federal tax and economic policy at the Tax Foundation, which traditionally supports cutting taxes to spur economic growth. Mr. Smith said he supported the Trump proposal, though the Tax Foundation had not taken an official position.
''The payroll tax would be great,'' Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. ''Dems are not in favor of it. I'm trying to figure out why.''
Democrats are opposed for several reasons. Many economists, including liberals and conservatives who have called for stimulus measures, say there are much more effective ways to stoke demand and support growth during a viral outbreak. They note that cutting payroll taxes only helps Americans who are still working '-- and not those who are furloughed by quarantines or laid off amid floundering sales. The benefits would arrive gradually across paychecks instead of in one stimulative burst.
''A payroll tax cut like the president wants wouldn't help the elderly, non-employed, who are at the most risk from the virus,'' Michael R. Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote Wednesday on Twitter. ''It would provide a larger benefit to the well off. And it isn't targeted on those who need it.''
Claudia Sahm, an economist at the liberal Washington Center for Equitable Growth, said Thursday that lawmakers could still ward off a recession with stimulus, but ''a payroll tax won't do it.'' She and Mr. Strain both favor giving cash assistance to Americans.
Cutting payroll taxes ''will be too slow, and its effects too small,'' Ms. Sahm said. ''So small most won't even notice it. Those who don't have or will lose their jobs won't get it at all.''
The political calculations around payroll tax cuts are fraught. The tax feeds the Social Security Trust Fund; while administration officials said they would most likely divert other money to avoid robbing the fund, cutting payroll taxes would further balloon the rising budget deficit.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that suspending the tax through December would reduce federal revenues by $840 billion; the Tax Foundation said it could top $900 billion. The initial price tag for the 2008 Wall Street bailout was $700 billion, though less than $500 billion was actually spent and taxpayers ultimately recouped most of the funds. President Barack Obama's 2009 stimulus package cost about $800 billion over the course of several years.
The full cost of Mr. Trump's proposals, including assistance to affected industries like tourism and sick pay for quarantined workers, is likely to be tens '-- if not hundreds '-- of billions of dollars larger than the payroll tax cut alone.
If enacted, such a package would most likely push the federal budget deficit to over $2 trillion for the year. Data released Thursday by the Treasury Department show the deficit '-- which has grown significantly in recent years in part because of Mr. Trump's 2017 tax cuts '-- is on pace to reach nearly $1.1 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year.
The record in nominal dollars for an annual deficit in the United States is $1.4 trillion, during the depths of the financial crisis.
Updated March 10, 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 lung lesions and pneumonia. How contagious is the virus? It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can travel through the air, enveloped in tiny respiratory droplets that are produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. Where has the virus spread? The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 124,000 in at least 108 countries and more than 4,500 have died. The spread has slowed in China but is gaining speed in Europe and the United States. World Health Organization officials said the outbreak qualifies as a global pandemic. What symptoms should I look out for? Symptoms, which can take between two to 14 days to appear, include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Milder cases may resemble the flu or a bad cold, but people may be able to pass on the virus even before they develop symptoms. 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 and avoiding touching your face. 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 elderly family members. What if I'm traveling? The C.D.C. has advised against all non-essential travel to South Korea, China, Italy and Iran. And the agency has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan.The State Department has advised Americans against traveling on cruise ships. How long will it take to develop a treatment or vaccine? Several drugs are being tested, and some initial findings are expected soon. A vaccine to stop the spread is still at least a year away.
Iranian, Russian, Chinese Media Push COVID-19 'Bioweapon' Conspiracies - Defense One
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 06:15
Disinformation about the coronavirus is spreading as quickly as the virus, thanks to the usual players.
Chinese authorities maintain that COVID -19 likely originated at a market in Wuhan where people were selling bat meat. But Iranian, Russian, and Chinese propaganda media outlets would like you to believe, without evidence, that the emerging public health crisis comes from U.S. biological weapons.
Disinformation about the coronavirus is spreading as quickly as the outbreak, fueled by Iranian, Russian, and Chinese government-backed campaigns blaming and attacking the United States as the source for the scourge.
''One narrative all three countries [including China] highlight is the notion that the United States is weaponizing the crisis for political gain and thus worsening its spread globally,'' Rachel Chernaskey, a project manager for the Foreign Influence Election 2020 Project with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, or FPRI , wrote yesterday.
''While all three countries' state-sponsored outlets pushed explicitly anti- U.S. sentiments, Iran and Russia appeared to push far more conspiratorial content than China. In the disinformation ecosystem, each country's state-sponsored media played off the others to promote shared preferred narratives,'' she wrote.
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The outbreak has hit Iran particularly hard, with confirmed 291 deaths and 8042 cases according to today's numbers released by the Iranian government. Government officials, including about 10 percent of Iran's parliament and various health officials such as Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, have tested positive for the virus.
Iran has most aggressively pushed fake news about the illness. State-backed PressTV repeatedly has broadcast the theory that COVID -19 may be a U.S. manufactured bioweapon, or that Isreali and ''Zionist'' scientists have used the epidemic as a cover to engineer an even more deadly strain of the virus to spring on humanity, and specifically on Iran.
The source for the first claim: an interview between conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones and human rights lawyer Francis Boyle. The interview was carried on the conspiracy website Nature News, where PressTV picked it up. Boyle in the interview also claims that the United States developed the SARS virus as a bioweapon, citing a 2015 peer-reviewed paper from researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that does not make that claim, rather it shows a cluster of bat coronoviruses with potential to infect humans.
Related: Trump Is Peddling Dangerous Disinformation on CoronavirusRelated: How China Is Working to Quarantine the Truth About the Coronavirus Related: The Prognosis: Latest News on Coronavirus & National SecurityAnother piece of PressTV's COVID -19-as-bioweapon coverage cites Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer and conspiracy monger writing for the Moscow-backed Strategic Culture Foundation. Giraldi's evidence that the United States, and not China, is the source of the virus? There are some regions of China with more bats than Wuhan, he argues, but somehow those regions have fewer cases of COVID -19.
Russia, meanwhile, has used its considerable media reach via channels like RT to amplify statements coming out of Iranian leadership. Last week RT reported that Hossein Salami, chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, claimed that the virus was a U.S. weapon aimed at Iran and China.
Several other fringe sites have also pushed various versions of the theory. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., suggested that the virus was the result of a botched bioweapons program out of China, but later said that his comments were mischaracterized. Last week, Steve Bannon backed Cotton, saying the senator only called for China to be more transparent about the origin of the virus.
Chinese media outlet the Global Times has said that Western media and U.S. leaders are treating it unfairly and contend that U.S. political leadership isn't ready to deal with the challenge of COVID -19 as forcefully as China was. Most of their media efforts have gone toward reassuring the Chinese public that the measures that the government has put in place have been sufficient. But some whistleblowers from inside China dispute that claim.
These stories are examples of what is likely to be a growing trend of disinfo around COVID -19, according to Clint Watts, a senior fellow with FPRI .
''Nation states that persistently disseminate disinformation will absolutely create false narratives about the coronavirus outbreak. Their output will be steady, their sophistication higher on average and over the longer term. The big three'--Russia, Iran and China'--will use state-sponsored news to advance a few chosen narratives about the outbreak that develop or amplify pseudoscience and revised histories about the coronavirus's origin and its spread,'' Watts said in a post on the institute's site on Monday.
Social media companies are trying, he said. to separate disinformation from misinformation and factual information around the epidemic. They ''can, and seem to be trying, to elevate accurate information about coronavirus, mitigating its spread and treating the outbreak. We social media users can help by continually flagging nonsense we see about coronavirus,'' he said.
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President Donald J. Trump Has Taken Unprecedented Steps To Respond To The Coronavirus And Protect The Health And Safety Of Americans | The White House
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:57
Quote Together we are putting into policy a plan to prevent, detect, treat and create a vaccine against coronavirus to save lives in America and the world. America will get it done!
President Donald J. Trump
RESTRICTING TRAVEL FROM IMPACTED AREAS: President Donald J. Trump is taking further action to curb the spread of the coronavirus to the United States from other countries.
President Trump is issuing a proclamation under section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to restrict travel to the United States from foreign nationals who have recently been in certain European countries.Section 212(f) of the INA only applies to the movement of human beings, not goods or cargo.The restriction applies to foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area, 26 countries in Europe with open borders agreements, in the last 14 days.Those who are exempt from these restrictions, such as American citizens, will be directed to a limited number of airports where screening can take place.There is extensive travel back and forth between Europe that heightens the risk here in the United States.LOOKING OUT FOR AMERICAN BUSINESSES AND WORKERS: President Donald J. Trump is committed to protecting American businesses and workers from the impacts of coronavirus.
The President is announcing an economic assistance package to help support businesses and workers who have been harmed by this outbreak.President Trump has instructed the Small Business Administration (SBA) to exercise available authority to provide loans to businesses affected by the coronavirus.These loans will help overcome disruptions caused by the coronavirus.The President is calling on Congress to increase funding for this program by an additional $50 billion.The President will be instructing the Department of the Treasury to defer tax payments for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted by the coronavirus.This action will provide more than $200 billion of additional liquidity to the economy.President Trump is calling on Congress to immediately pass payroll tax relief.The President announced that he will soon be taking emergency action to provide financial relief for workers who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to the coronavirus.The President also called on Congress to take action to extend this relief for workers.LEADING AN AGGRESSIVE, WHOLE-OF-GOVERNMENT APPROACH: President Trump has taken unprecedented steps to protect the health of Americans in response to the coronavirus.
The President is leveraging all of our resources to respond to the coronavirus, bringing together government and private industry in a collaborative response.The Trump Administration declared a public health emergency in January to bolster response efforts.President Trump took early action to help curb the spread of the virus from other countries to the United States, providing important time for response and preparations.In January, President Trump acted quickly to restrict travel from foreign nationals traveling from China.In February, the President restricted travel for individuals recently traveling from Iran.The Administration put into place mandatory screening for all travelers coming into the country from Italy and South Korea.Travel advisories for severely impacted areas like Italy and South Korea have been raised to their highest level.Today, the President directed his Administration to make general-use face masks available to our healthcare workers.The Administration's actions will help make millions of general-use respirators available to keep healthcare workers safe and mitigate transmission of the virus.President Trump signed into law more than $8 billion to fund response efforts.The Administration has taken bold steps to incentivize the development of therapeutics and vaccines to treat and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.Working across the public and private sectors, the Trump Administration continues to drastically expand testing capacity.More than 1 million tests have been distributed nationwide, with another 4 million tests being shipped out by the end of the week.Testing is now available in every State lab in the country and commercial labs are now deploying tests, which will help generate a dramatic increase in availability.The Trump Administration has released guidance on how to keep businesses, schools, community gathering places, and families safe.From the start, President Trump has made keeping the public informed a top priority.The Administration has announced that health plans with health savings accounts will be able to cover coronavirus testing and treatment without co-payments.
Tom Hanks on Twitter: "" / Twitter
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 21:09
Usman Malik @ UsmanMalik_Life
53m Replying to
@tomhanks Sir Acting is my passion. MY Acting audition video say one dialogue in 12 different Emotions
#Acting #passion ðŸ'½''¤ðŸŽ¬ View conversation · Jack @ VanillaBepis
51m Replying to
@UsmanMalik_Life @tomhanks prolly not the best time champ
View conversation · Stephen A. Smith Burner @ SASBurnerAcct
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@tomhanks Not the Hanks' too man View conversation · Zach Reyes @ Zach_Reyes07
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@SASBurnerAcct @tomhanks Good seeing you here bro View conversation · Bhodi1983 @ bhodi1983
48m Replying to
@tomhanks @Jake_Trotter He'll be fine...the dude survived being stranded on an island, Vietnam, and a failed moon landing.
View conversation · canandaigua @ canandaigua
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@bhodi1983 @tomhanks @Jake_Trotter Don't forget NORMANDY ffs!
View conversation · Adam Parkhomenko @ AdamParkhomenko
40m Replying to
@tomhanks Finding out America's dad tested positive right after trump said everything is fine
View conversation · Devin Nunes' cow 🐮 @ DevinCow
38m Replying to
@AdamParkhomenko @tomhanks Cue the conspiracy wackos
View conversation · Kayla Pinkney @ _niggalodeon_
52m Replying to
@tomhanks I swear if 2020 takes Tom Hanks away from us.... View conversation · Jakob Wedel @ Jakob_Wedel_76
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@_niggalodeon_ @tomhanks He'll be fine
View conversation ·
Scientist Discovers that Inhaled Propylene Glycol Kills the Flu Virus
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 13:44
Tobacco companies want you to believe that electronic cigarettes are dangerous. Lawmakers are trying to ban them and public health officials are constantly harping on the dangers of the ''unknown'' impact of ecig vapor. But the truth is that we know plenty about how ecigs affect human health. In fact, research surrounding ecig vapor dates back to 1942, decades before the ecig was ever even invented. Back in the 1940's, Dr. Oswald Hope Robertson suspected that vaporized propylene glycol (a main ingredient in ecigs) could potentially kill the flu virus. He put his hypothesis to the test in a study at the University of Chicago's Billings Hospital.
To determine how inhaled propylene glycol might affect the lungs and respiratory health, Dr. Roberts gathered some laboratory mice and separated them into two groups. He placed each group in a separate chamber and then sprayed propylene glycol into one, followed by the flu virus. In the other chamber, he only exposed the mice directly to the flu virus. The mice that first inhaled propylene glycol first all survived, but the mice that only inhaled the flu virus all died.
Dr. Robertson believed that inhaling propylene glycol could effectively kill the flu virus and even pneumonia. ''The propylene glycol itself was a potent germicide. One part of glycol in 2,000,000 parts of air would '' within a few seconds '' kill concentrations of air-suspended pneumococci, streptococci, and other bacteria numbering millions to the cubic foot,'' he explained.
Today, we are still using propylene glycol although health experts won't tell you that it could have incredible health benefits. The FDA classifies PG as a food and drug additive that is ''generally recognized as safe''. You can find it in numerous foods and pharmaceutical products, but only through electronic cigarette vapor is it inhaled as Dr. Robertson proposed.
The e-liquid in electronic cigarettes is made from a blend of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings. When you take a puff of your ecig, you are inhaling propylene glycol, just like Dr. Robertson's mice. According to his conclusion, you could also be killing any harmful bacteria that are lurking in your lungs.
This study just goes to show that electronic cigarettes are not all bad, in fact, most vapers will tell you they are not bad at all. There is a lot of research out there to show the benefits of vaping, but some of the most convincing studies like the one from Dr. Robertson have been shoved out of sight to keep you living in fear. Don't fall for the hype. Ecigs can be a life changing option so throw your cigarettes in the trash and start vaping today!
Charlamagne Tha God blasts Biden for not appearing on his radio show: 'Who do you think you are?' | Fox News
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 10:18
Radio host Charlamagne Tha God knocked former Vice President Joe Biden for not appearing on his show during the 2020 election cycle.
Several Democratic candidates made headlines during their appearances on "The Breakfast Club," including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. But the 2020 front-runner, who recently sat down with Fox News for the first time as a presidential candidate, hasn't made an appearance on the Los Angeles-based radio show.
Charlamagne previously claimed that Biden was "avoiding" his show and insisted that "black surrogates" for the former vice president specifically did not want him talking to the candidate.
"Why?" MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin asked in response to those remarks.
"I really have no idea," Charlamagne said. "Joe Biden owes black people his political life, you know what I'm saying? So don't disrespect that base by not showing up, especially when all of your former opponents did.
Charlamagne also revealed that the Biden campaign attempted to send one of his surrogates to the show last year, which the host rejected.
"That's kinda wack if all the other candidates went on themselves and you want to send a surrogate. Who do you think you are?" the radio host said.
When pressed on who he'd vote for in 2020, Charlamagne told Melvin he doesn't know but urged Biden to lay out a "specific black agenda" and added that he would be more "comfortable" with a Biden candidacy if he had Harris as his running mate.
He was previously critical of Biden, saying last year that the former vice president "fumbles the ball all the time" and "misses lay-ups" during interviews.
"I think Joe Biden fumbles all the time because Joe Biden suffers from old white male entitlement, where he can't simply say 'I was wrong'," Charlamagne elaborated. "Or he can't simply say 'I'm sorry.' He can't say, 'Hey, you know I thought this way at one time, but now I think a different way.'''
Green New Deal
Air pollution from tyres up to 1,000 worse than from exhaust, claims study - Air Quality News
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:53
Air pollution from car tyres can be up to 1,000 times worse than from an exhaust, research from Emissions Analytics has suggested.
Non-exhaust emissions (NEE) are expected to rise from 7.4% today to 10% of all UK PM2.5 emissions by 2030, in part due to increased regulations on exhaust emissions as well the further take-up of electric vehicles (EVs).
Last year, the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) raised the alarm and warned that urgent action must be taken to cut emissions from tyres and brakes.
To understand the scale of the problem, testing firm Emissions Analytics performed some initial tyre wear testing using a popular family hatchback running on brand new, correctly inflated tyres, which found that the car emitted 5.8 grams per kilometre of particles.
Compared with regulated exhaust emission limits of 4.5 milligrams per kilometre, the completely unregulated tyre wear emission is higher by a factor of over 1,000.
Emissions Analytics believes that this could be even higher if the vehicle had tyres which were underinflated, or the road surfaces used for the test were rougher, or the tyres used were from a budget range, all very recognisable scenarios in 'real world' motoring.
Read the study here.
Richard Lofthouse, senior researcher at Emissions Analytics said: 'It's time to consider not just what comes out of a car's exhaust pipe but particle pollution from tyre and brake wear. Our initial tests reveal that there can be a shocking amount of particle pollution from tyres '' 1,000 times worse than emissions from a car's exhaust.
'What is even more frightening is that while exhaust emissions have been tightly regulated for many years, tyre wear is totally unregulated '' and with the increasing growth in sales of heavier SUVs and battery-powered electric cars, non-exhaust emissions (NEE) are a very serious problem.'
Responding to Emissions Analytics' data, Mike Hawes, the Society of Motor Traders and Manufacturers (SMMT) chief executive called the study 'irresponsible'.
He said: 'Making sensationalist claims based on testing of a single-vehicle is not credible and, quite frankly, irresponsible.
'Emissions from safety-critical brakes, tyres and road surfaces are very difficult to measure, and a challenge already taken seriously by the sector, governments and a UN global group, which are working together to better understand, and agree, how to test them in a scientific way.
'Further, there is no evidence to suggest that electric vehicles have a propensity to emit more non-exhaust particulates than any other '' in fact, their regenerative braking systems mean wear is significantly reduced.'
The European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers' Association (ETRMA) welcomed Emissions Analytics study but said further studies are needed.
A spokesperson said: 'Our analysis of the tyre wear rate results of EmissionsAnalytics' driving test found that they do not reflect normal driving conditions and go far beyond the toughest realistic driving behaviour. The test conditions used a vehicle that was fully loaded with low-quality tyres. The test design incorporated high speeds and excessive cornering and underscores the unrealistic nature of the driving test and its results with an extreme driving behaviour.
'The issue of tyre and road wear is complex and many factors influence the tyre tread abrasion rate. Driving behaviour, vehicle characteristics, tyre design, road topology and surface, traffic and weather can all impact particle generation.
'EmissionsAnalytics' results clearly show the impact of aggressive driving behaviour as well as carrying a load that is not representative of normal circumstances. Effective solutions therefore need to consider all external factors and are only possible if we work together with all relevant stakeholders.'
In January, a King's College London study suggested that fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that originates from brake pads may be just as bad for the lungs as PM2.5 from diesel exhausts.
For the study, which was published in the journal Metallomics, researchers obtained dust from a brake pad testing factory which tests a broad range of vehicles used across Europe in real-time driving conditions.
Photo Credit '' Pixabay
Harvey Weinstein Gets an Ending Even He Couldn't Have Scripted
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:49
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
The sentence is a reality warp for those of us who knew Weinstein at the height of his power
The sentence that Harvey Weinstein got in court on Wednesday was breathtaking. Historic, earth-moving, epic.
For those of us who work day to day in Hollywood and who knew Weinstein at the height of his fame and power, it is a reality warp to know that the 67-year-old was rolled into a New York courtroom in a wheelchair and sent to prison for 23 years, quite possibly the rest of his life.
For the better part of three decades, this man didn't make a move without multiple assistants, had the White House (or Democratic leadership) on speed dial, counted movie stars and billionaires as his best buddies and for a long stretch more or less owned the Academy Awards. Look at the documents released by New York prosecutors on Monday '-- the man direct-dialed Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Mike Bloomberg when he got in trouble.
His descent into Iago-levels of villainy '-- and his comeuppance at the sentencing by a New York judge '-- seems beyond Shakespeare, past Greek tragedy and deep into Biblical territory for a level-set of a moral reckoning.
Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison
Harvey Weinstein and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) at the ''Finding Neverland'' premiere in 2004. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
I spoke to a few of Weinstein's former collaborators today. Long past shock, so many of them are speechless at how the wheel of fortune has turned. Many of them were themselves among the abused by Weinstein, who was one of Hollywood's most talented producers but also a serious rageaholic.
''He's a despicable human being,'' said one executive who worked for Weinstein for a decade. ''I always thought he was reading our emails. Threatening people. I was convinced our phones were tapped. Now I believe all of it.''
And as for the verdict, this individual '-- like others I've interviewed '-- keeps wondering what they should have done at the time. Guilt lurks in many of them. Multiple senior staffers at Miramax and later The Weinstein Company have said they suspected he was a serial womanizer but insist they had no idea he was coercing sex from women, as the New York jury found. ''We should have looked deeper. You don't think of rape,'' one executive said. (I've lost count how many times I've heard this.)
A jumble of memories has gone through my mind as I've been processing this sentence.
Years ago at The New York Times, I wrote a piece about how Weinstein was the critical connection among a large number of the top executives in the independent film world. Dozens had gotten their start with him, and learned in the trenches. In fact, Weinstein trained an entire generation of those who then started their own companies or helped build others. (This is still true, by the way.) Weinstein was very proud of that piece.
Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Scandal: A Timeline of a Hollywood Mogul's Downfall (Photos)
I also remember sitting across from former Weinstein assistant Zelda Perkins at a London hotel in 2005. It was one of the very posh ones that serve high tea '-- Brown's, I think '-- but we just had regular tea. I sought out Perkins because a couple of sources told me she had some kind of physical encounter with Weinstein but had signed a nondisclosure agreement. I had heard this over many years and finally tried to get the story. She agreed to meet.
But for a frustrating two hours, Perkins would not say what happened to her, too fearful to speak because of the NDA. It was an exercise in futility for me, because I knew there was something, but there was nothing I could write. Perkins later breached the NDA '-- but only after the October 2017 revelations in the New York Times and New Yorker '-- and detailed how she had been sexually harassed, along with a colleague who claimed Weinstein sexually assaulted her (and who also took a settlement).
And I think of the last blow-out bash I saw Weinstein give, in the days before the Academy Awards of 2015. It was a classic Old Hollywood dinner party for about 300 of his close Hollywood friends, at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. The room was decked out in mirrors and towering palms, attendees wearing black tie and gowns. J.Lo swept in wearing a gorgeous feathered outfit, just for dinner. Hugh Jackman performed a number from Weinstein's new Broadway musical, ''Finding Neverland.'' It was Weinstein at his most expansive, and everyone commented that no one knew how to give a party like Harvey.
Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Tells Accusers at Sentencing: 'I Have Great Remorse'
Photo credit: Getty Images
Fast forward to the shrinking figure in court today, arriving in a wheelchair and then appearing hunched over and almost contrite. ''I feel remorse for the situation,'' he said. ''I feel it deeply in my heart.''
So often we've seen that change happens slowly '-- and then all at once. Case in point: Gay marriage was an idea that seemed unfathomable, and then in a seeming instant all opposition flipped. Marriage equality became the law of the land and those who found it to be problematic were in the margins, protesting over wedding cakes.
The issue of confronting sexual abuse by people in positions of power has also moved quickly. One measure of the speed and weight of that change is just how many Weinstein silence-breakers themselves were braced for a Weinstein acquittal last month. I spoke to many of them who described living in a high state of anxiety before the ''guilty'' verdict came in, worried that all of their efforts and public sharing of tightly held experiences would come to nothing.
Tarana Burke, who coined the phrase #MeToo that morphed into a movement, summed up her reaction simply on Wednesday: ''Well, I'll be damned.''
The change has come, and few will shed any tears for Weinstein. For the former Weinstein executive, the lesson in one that can only be learned in the bitter crucible of real life: ''How you treat people on your way up, is how you will be treated on your way down.''
Harvey Weinstein Scandal: A Timeline of a Hollywood Mogul's Downfall (Photos) Harvey Weinstein was once the king of the indie film world. But the Oscar-winning producer's career and reputation have imploded since fall 2017, when scores of women stepped forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Here's a breakdown of what happened.
OCT. 5, 2017
The New York Times published a story revealing that Harvey Weinstein had paid financial settlements to at least eight women who have accused him of sexual harassment or assault. Actress Ashley Judd is the only accuser to go on the record, accusing the mogul of assaulting her in his hotel room. In a statement, Weinstein apologizes, vows to take a self-imposed leave of absence from his company, and bizarrely declares war on the NRA.
Getty Images OCT. 6, 2017
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, as well as other Congressional Democrats, donate campaign contributions they received from Weinstein to charity.
Getty Images OCT. 8, 2017
Weinstein is fired as CEO from The Weinstein Company.
Getty Images OCT. 10, 2017
The New Yorker publishes its own piece, written by Ronan Farrow, in which three women, including Italian actress Asia Argento, accuse Weinstein of rape. Through a spokesperson, Weinstein denies any account of nonconsensual sex.
Hours after the New Yorker article runs, the New York Times publishes on-the-record accusations of inappropriate behavior from Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.
Model and actress Cara Delevingne also comes forward on Oct. 11 to accuse Weinstein of making sexually inappropriate comments and harassing her.
Getty Images
OCT. 12, 2017
The NYPD and London's Metro Police both launch criminal investigations of Weinstein. On social media, Rose McGowan accuses Weinstein of raping her. (He has consistently denied engaging in nonconsensual sex.)
OCT. 13, 2017
Director Quentin Tarantino, arguably Weinstein's greatest discovery, says he is ''heartbroken'' by the scandal. A petition to expel Weinstein from AMPAS passes 100,000 signatures.
OCT. 14, 2017
The AMPAS Board of Governors expels Weinstein. The Weinstein Company's development slate falls apart, losing projects with David O. Russell and more. Release of Benedict Cumberbatch's "The Current War" is delayed.
OCT. 15, 2017
Actress Alyssa Milano kicks off a cultural movement by encouraging women to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault on social media. She asks them to tag the stories #MeToo.
OCT. 17, 2017
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy vows to start an industry-wide commission to create ''protections against harassment and abuse.'' Frequent Weinstein collaborator and filmmaker Kevin Smith vows to donate all of his Weinstein Company residuals to Women in Film.
OCT. 25, 2017
The Taylor Sheridan film "Wind River," which had a successful release by the Weinstein Company in August, excises the Weinstein name from its home video and streaming releases. Principal financier Acadia Entertainment buys the film back from TWC and self-funds an awards campaign. (It doesn't land any Oscar nominations.)
NOV. 6, 2017
The Television Academy bans Weinstein for life. The New Yorker runs a follow-up piece saying a battery of former Mossad agents and communications experts were used to silence stories of Weinstein's impropriety for years.
NOV. 15, 2017
TWC is hit with a class-action lawsuit from several of Weinstein's accusers. The company is forced to sell its live-action "Paddington 2" to Warner Bros. to help infuse the studio with cash and keep the doors open.
DEC. 6, 2017
The Academy announces its ''standards of conduct,'' which read, in part, ''The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.''
JAN. 1, 2018
#TimesUp is born as four female talent agents from CAA create a legal defense fund for women in the U.S. workforce to protect them from sexual harassment. The effort is announced and endorsed by contributors like Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Fox Film head Stacey Snider, Fox TV honcho Dana Walden, Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey, among others.
To draw attention to the mistreatment of women in Hollywood, virtually all women attending the Golden Globes wear black.
Immediately after he wins a Golden Globe wearing a #TimesUp pin, James Franco is accused of sexual misconduct by several women. The accusations, which the actor denies, come in the middle of the Oscar nomination voting period.
Lady Bird writer-director Greta Gerwig joins Mira Sorvino, Chloe Sevigny and others in saying she would not work in the future with director Woody Allen, who had been accused of sexual assault by his adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow. (He has repeatedly denied the accusation.)
JAN. 10, 2018
Page Six reports that Weinstein and Chapman reached the terms of an eight-figure divorce settlement, with Chapman securing primary custody of the couple's two children.
JAN. 27, 2018
The Academy emails members to reveal the process by which violations of its code of conduct can be reported.
FEB. 6, 2018
''I may be a 75-year-old white male,'' says Academy President John Bailey at the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon, ''but I'm as gratified as any of you that the fossilized bedrock of many of Hollywood's worst abuses [is] being jackhammered into oblivion.'' (One month later, the Academy would investigate -- and then dismiss -- accusations of sexual harassment against Bailey himself.)
FEB. 8, 2018
Los Angeles police send three sexual assault cases concerning Weinstein to the city's district attorney for possible charges.
MARCH 19, 2018
The Weinstein Company filed for bankruptcy in Delaware, reporting that it had less than $500,000 in cash on hand. Dallas-based Lantern Capital Partners stepped up as a stalking horse bidder prepared to buy virtually all of the company's assets for $310 million.
As part of the company's bankruptcy filing, TWC also released all of Weinstein's accusers from any non-disclosure agreements that would've prevented them from speaking about Weinstein's alleged misconduct.
MAY 8, 2018
Despite a last-minute bid from Broadway producer Howard Kagan's Inclusion Media, a Delaware bankruptcy judge approves Lantern Capital's purchase of The Weinstein Company's assets.
MAY 25, 2018
Following a months-long investigation by the NYPD, Weinstein is arrested on three felony charges of rape and criminal sex act in connection with two female accusers. Weinstein pleads not guilty and released on $1 million bail pending trial.
MAY 30, 2018
Weinstein is indicted on charges of rape in the first and third degrees, as well as on charges of criminal sexual act in the first degree, as announced by the Manhattan district attorney's office. Then on June 1, Three women filed additional charges against Weinstein in a class action lawsuit, saying that Weinstein isolated the women ''in an attempt to engage in unwanted sexual conduct that took many forms: flashing, groping, fondling, harassing, battering, false imprisonment, sexual assault and attempted rape, and/or completed rape.''
Getty Getty Images JULY 2, 2018
A grand jury served Weinstein with three more sexual assault charges, an additional count of criminal sexual act in the first degree for forcing a woman to have sex with him in 2006, and two counts of predatory sexual assault. The latter charge carries a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of a life sentence. Weinstein would plead not guilty.
Getty Images AUG. 3, 2018
Weinstein made a push to have a New York judge toss out a criminal sexual assault case brought against him, saying in a filing that the Manhattan district attorney ''failed to provide the Grand Jury with exculpatory evidence of the long-term, consensual, intimate relationship between Mr. Weinstein and the alleged rape victim.''
Getty Images AUG. 19, 2018
A report in the New York Times said Asia Argento paid a settlement of $380,000 to actor Jimmy Bennett after accusing her of sexually assaulting him when he was just 17. Argento denied the accusations. Rose McGowan distanced herself from Argento, and Weinstein issued a statement saying Argento displayed a ''stunning level of hypocrisy.'' ''The sheer duplicity of her conduct is quite extraordinary and should demonstrate to everyone how poorly the allegations against Mr. Weinstein were actually vetted and accordingly, cause all of us to pause and allow due process to prevail, not condemnation by fundamental dishonesty,'' the statement continued.
AUG. 30, 2018
Former NBC News producer Richard McHugh said that people at ''the very highest levels of NBC'' worked to quash Ronan Farrow's Harvey Weinstein story that eventually published in The New Yorker. Then on Sept. 3, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack sent an internal memo saying that after eight months, Farrow's reporting ''did not have a single victim or witness willing to go on the record.'' Farrow disputed the memo and said NBC's list of sources was incomplete.
SEPT. 6, 2018
The U.S. Attorney's office in New York opened an investigation into Weinstein's involvement with the private spy firm Black Cube to see if he violated any federal wire fraud laws. Weinstein had hired Black Cube to gather information on those accusing him of sexual assault.
AUG. 26, 2019
Weinstein is indicted on two new charges of predatory sexual assault. He faces seven counts, including first-degree and third-degree rape.
The new indictment also allows for Annabella Sciorra to testify at his trial. Though Weinstein cannot be charged for raping Sciorra at her apartment in 1993, as she had said in a 2017 interview with the New Yorker, the actress' testimony could strengthen the D.A.'s case against Weinstein.
The criminal trial, originally scheduled to begin on Sept. 9, is also pushed back to Jan. 2020.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images SEPT. 6, 2019
A judge grants the consolidation of charges against Weinstein, bringing the count back down to five. The consolidation, which was voluntarily requested by the district attorney's office, dismisses prosecutors' earlier charges of predatory sexual assault and essentially replaces them with the two new charges of predatory sexual assault that were included in the indictment last month.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images SEPT. 10, 2019
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the New York Times reporters who first broke the Weinstein story, publish their book "She Said," which chronicles their investigation into the mogul and the aftermath of their initial story.
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images OCT. 15, 2019
Ronan Farrow publishes "Catch and Kill," his own recounting of reporting on Weinstein and the roadblocks he faced while trying to publish his work at NBC News. The book includes damning revelations about NBC News' leadership and a detailed accusation of rape against Matt Lauer. (Lauer has denied the accusation, and NBC News has repeatedly denied many of the details in the book.)
Getty Images David Dee Delgado / Getty Images Time's Up denounces the tentative settlement, describing it as emblematic of a "broken system that privileges powerful abusers at the expense of survivors."
Getty Images
DEC. 11, 2019
After accusations of ankle bracelet tampering, Weinstein's bail is increased to $5 million.
David Dee Delgado / Getty Images JAN. 6, 2020
The first day of Weinstein's criminal trial begins in Manhattan.
As court was convening, a group of "silence breakers" '-- including Rosanna Arquette, Rose McGowan, Lou Godbold, Sarah Ann Masse, Dominique Huett, Lauren Sivan, and Paula Williams '-- hold a press conference outside the courtroom to call on Weinstein to be held accountable for his actions.
Getty Images Just hours after Weinstein left the courtroom after the first day of his trial, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced new charges of sexual assault against the ex-mogul: one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint.
An arraignment date has not yet been set, but a spokesperson for the DA's office told The Wrap that they expect to wait until Weinstein's trial in New York is complete first.
Weinstein's bail is set to $5 million and, if convicted, he faces up to 28 years in prison.
Getty Images Getty Images JAN. 17, 2020
The jury is selected for Weinstein's criminal trial. The 12-person panel includes seven men and five women. Three alternates are also chosen to sit in on the trial proceedings, should any of the chosen jurors need to be dismissed.
Scott Heins / Getty Images Spencer Platt / Getty Images JAN. 23, 2020
"Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra testifies that Weinstein barged into her Gramercy Park apartment around 1993 or early 1994, raped her, and then orally sexually assaulted her.
''My body shut down,'' she said. ''It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake in a way that was very unusual. I didn't really even know what was happening. It was like a seizure or something."
Spencer Platt / Getty Images JAN. 27, 2020
Miriam Haley (n(C)e Mimi Haleyi), a former production assistant on the Weinstein-produced TV show "Project Runway," testifies that Weinstein pushed her down onto a bed, pulled out her tampon, and orally sexually assaulted her.
Getty Images JAN. 29, 2020
Dawn Dunning, a former aspiring actress now working as a costume designer, testifies as one of the prosecution's "prior bad acts" witnesses. Dunning says Weinstein put his hand up her skirt and touched her genitals in 2004 and then, later, propositioned her for a threesome with one of his assistants in exchange for movie roles.
Ari Perilstein / Getty Images FEB. 24, 2020
After four days of deliberations, a New York jury convicted Weinstein of third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act, but found him not guilty of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault.
MARCH 11, 2020
Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for his crimes.
A blow-by-blow look at how the indie mogul's career and reputation unraveled
Harvey Weinstein was once the king of the indie film world. But the Oscar-winning producer's career and reputation have imploded since fall 2017, when scores of women stepped forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Here's a breakdown of what happened.
Jennifer Aniston 'should be killed': Weinstein's rage laid bare in unsealed court documents
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:55
The film producer also attempted to get support from Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook when he feared losing his job
Jennifer Aniston at the Screen Actors Guild awards in January.Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/APUnsealed court papers have revealed that disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein said that Jennifer Aniston ''should be killed''. They also say he attempted to get help from billionaires Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg to avoid being fired by the Weinstein Company.
Following Weinstein's conviction for rape in the third degree and a criminal sex act in February, the New York City criminal courthouse has made public around a thousand pages of documents collected for Weinstein's case. According to Variety, Weinstein was contacted in October 2017 by a reporter from the National Enquirer over a story that the magazine was planning to publish that alleged Aniston had claimed Weinstein had sexually assaulted her. Weinstein responded by email: ''Jen Aniston should be killed.'' Aniston's representative has since told Variety that the Enquirer's claims were false: ''Jennifer has not been harassed or assaulted by Harvey.''
The documents also revealed that actor-director Ben Affleck was one of many industry figures on a ''red flag list'' compiled by Weinstein, which he sent to a private detective as a guide to those he suspected of talking about his sexual behaviour to the media. The existence of the list was revealed during Weinstein's trial, when the investigator, Sam Anson, said that Annabella Sciorra, who had testified against Weinstein, was named. Alongside Affleck and Sciorra on the list were Rose McGowan, Zelda Perkins, Lysette Anthony and Rowena Chiu (who have all accused Weinstein of sexual assault, which he denies) and high-profile producers Megan Ellison and Jason Blum.
Weinstein's attempts to salvage his position in October 2017, when it became clear that the board of the Weinstein Company were about to fire him, were also revealed. He sent a string of emails to powerful corporate figures, including Bloomberg, Bezos, Netflix's Ted Sarandos and Apple's Tim Cook asking for their intervention and ''a private letter of support''. His email to Bezos read: ''There are many false allegations and over time, we'll prove it, but right now, I'm the poster boy for bad behavior.''
The documents also contain a note from Weinstein's brother Bob, former co-chairman of the Weinstein Company. He wrote: ''U deserve a lifetime achievement award for the sheer savagery and immorality and inhumanness, for the acts u have perpetrated. Oh I forgot. They were all consensual. Then what are u in rehab for? Sex addiction. Don't think so. You wouldn't have harassment, assault and rape charges u have now received, from 82 women for active consensual sex.''
Weinstein is due to be sentenced later today.
Digital Services Tax - GOV.UK
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 15:16
Who is likely to be affectedLarge multi-national enterprises with revenue derived from the provision of a social media service, a search engine or an online marketplace to UK users.
General description of the measureFrom 1 April 2020, the government will introduce a new 2% tax on the revenues of search engines, social media services and online marketplaces which derive value from UK users.
Policy objectiveThe application of the current corporate tax rules to businesses operating in the digital economy has led to a misalignment between the place where profits are taxed and the place where value is created. Many of these digital businesses derive value from their interaction and engagement with a user base.
Under the current international tax framework, the value businesses derive from user participation is not taken into account when allocating the profits of business between different countries. This measure will ensure the large multinational businesses in-scope make a fair contribution to supporting vital public services.
The government still believes the most sustainable long-term solution to the tax challenges arising from digitalisation is reform of the international corporate tax rules and strongly supports G7, G20 and OECD discussions on long-term reform. The government is committed to dis-applying the Digital Services Tax once an appropriate international solution is in place.
Background to the measureThe announcement of the Digital Services Tax in Budget 2018 was followed by a consultation which closed in February 2019. Draft legislation was published in July 2019 followed by a consultation which closed in September 2019.
Detailed proposalOperative dateThe Digital Services Tax will apply to revenue earned from 1 April 2020.
Current lawThis is new legislation and there is no current law in this area.
Proposed revisionsLegislation will be introduced to establish a Digital Services Tax.
The Digital Services Tax will apply to a group's businesses that provide a social media service, search engine or an online marketplace to UK users. These businesses will be liable to Digital Services Tax when the group's worldwide revenues from these digital activities are more than £500 million and more than £25 million of these revenues are derived from UK users.
If the group's revenues exceed these thresholds, its revenues derived from UK users will be taxed at a rate of 2%.
There is an allowance of £25 million, which means a group's first £25 million of revenues derived from UK users will not be subject to Digital Services Tax.
The provision of a social media service, internet search engine or online marketplace by a group includes the carrying on of any associated online advertising service. An associated online advertising service is an online service that facilitates online advertising and derives significant benefit from its association with the social media service, search engine or online marketplace.
There is an exemption from the online marketplace definition for financial services providers.
The taxable revenues will include any revenue earned by the group which is connected to the social media service, search engine or online marketplace, irrespective of how the business monetises the service. If revenues are attributable to the business activity and another activity, the group will need to apportion the revenue to each activity on a just and reasonable basis.
Revenues are usually derived from UK users if the revenue arises by virtue of a UK user using the service. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule.
Where one of the parties to a transaction on an online marketplace is a UK user, all of the revenues from that particular transaction will be treated as derived from UK users.
When the transaction involves accommodation, land or buildings in the UK, revenue from that transaction will be treated as derived from UK users. When the transaction involves accommodation, land or buildings not in the UK, revenue from that transaction will only be treated as derived from UK users if the consumer of the relevant service is a UK user.
The revenue charged will be reduced to 50% of the revenues from the transaction when a user in respect of a marketplace transaction is normally located in a country that operates a similar tax to the Digital Services Tax.
Advertising revenues are derived from UK users when the advertisement is viewed or otherwise consumed by a UK user.
A UK user is an individual that is normally located in the UK, or other type of user established in the UK.
Groups will be able to elect to calculate their Digital Services Tax under an alternative calculation. This is intended to ensure that the Digital Services Tax does not have a disproportionate effect on business sustainability in cases where a business has a low operating margin from providing in-scope activities to UK users.
The total Digital Services Tax liability will be calculated at the group level, but the Digital Services Tax will be charged on the individual entities in the group that realise the revenues that contribute to the total. The group consists of all entities which are included in the group consolidated accounts, provided these are prepared under an acceptable accounting standard.
Revenues will consequently be counted towards the Digital Services Tax thresholds even if they are recognised in entities which do not have a UK taxable presence for corporation tax purposes.
A single entity in the group will be responsible for reporting the Digital Services Tax to HMRC. Groups can nominate an entity to fulfil these responsibilities. Otherwise, the ultimate parent of the group will be responsible.
The Digital Services Tax will be payable and reportable on an annual basis.
Summary of impactsExchequer impact (£ million) 2019 to 2020 2020 to 2021 2021 to 2022 2022 to 2023 2023 to 2024 2024 to 2025 +65 -5 negligible negligible negligible +70 These figures are set out in Table 2.1 of Budget 2020 and have been certified by the Office for Budget Responsibility. More details can be found in the policy costings document published alongside Budget 2020.
2019 to 2020 2020 to 2021 2021 to 2022 2022 to 2023 2023 to 2024 2024 to 2025 +70 +280 +390 +425 +465 +515 These figures are the total of figures set out in Tables 2.1 and 2.2 of Budget 2020 and have been certified by the Office for Budget Responsibility. More details can be found in the policy costings document published alongside Budget 2020 and 2018.
Economic impactThis measure is not expected to have any significant macroeconomic impacts.
Impact on individuals, households and familiesThis measure has no direct impact on individuals as it only affects businesses. The measure is not expected to impact on family formation, stability or breakdown.
Equalities impactsThis measure has no direct impact on individuals as it only affects businesses. It is not anticipated that this measure will have any impacts for groups sharing protected characteristics.
Impact on business including civil society organisationsThe measure is expected to have an impact on a small number of large multinational groups by bringing into scope of Digital Services Tax the proportion of their revenue that is derived from UK users of social media, search engines or online marketplaces. The policy will be delivered through a Digital Services Tax charge reported and collected under new provisions.
As with any new tax, there will inevitably be an increased admin burden on the affected groups. The customer experience for the businesses in scope of the Digital Services Tax will change due to the additional requirements placed on them from complying with a new tax. HMRC will provide clear and targeted guidance to support businesses further.
One-off costs will include familiarisation with the new rules. Ongoing costs may include keeping records of revenue referable to UK users and making payment to HMRC. Businesses in scope will also use a new service to make their annual return of the tax due.
This measure is not expected to impact on civil society organisations.
Operational impact (£ million) (HMRC or other)HMRC will incur costs of up to £8 million to enable both new IT systems and processes to be developed as well as additional staff to monitor and administer the new tax.
Other impactsOther impacts have been considered and none have been identified.
Monitoring and evaluationThe measure will be monitored through information collected from receipts.
Further adviceIf you have any questions about this change, please contact the Digital Services Tax team by email:
Shut Up Slave
The Graham-Blumenthal Bill Is an Attack on Online Speech and Security | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:55
Members of Congress have mounted a major threat to your freedom of speech and privacy online. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) recently introduced a bill that would undermine key protections for Internet speech in U.S. law. It would also expose providers of the private messaging services we all rely on to serious legal risk, potentially forcing them to undermine their tools' security.
The so-called EARN IT Act (S. 3398) is an attack on speech, security, and innovation. Congress must reject it.
The bill deals with the very serious issue of child exploitation online, but it offers no meaningful solutions. It doesn't help organizations that support victims. It doesn't equip law enforcement agencies with resources to investigate claims of child exploitation or training in how to use online platforms to catch perpetrators. Rather, the bill's authors have shrewdly used defending children as the pretense for an attack on our free speech and security online.
Make no mistake: the EARN IT Act is a vehicle to undermine end-to-end encryption.
The EARN IT Act would create a ''National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention'' tasked with developing ''best practices'' for owners of Internet platforms to ''prevent, reduce, and respond'' to child exploitation online. But far from mere recommendations, those ''best practices'' would essentially become legal requirements: if a platform failed to adhere to them, it would lose essential legal protections for free speech.
Once the Commission completed its recommendations, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission would approve or veto the best practices. If they all agreed, then Congress would have an extremely short timeline to debate the best practices and write them into law without amendments.
The EARN IT Act Would Censor Innocent PeopleThe Graham-Blumenthal bill undermines Section 230, the most important law protecting free speech online. Section 230 enforces the common-sense principle that if you say something illegal online, you should be the one held responsible, not the website or platform where you said it (with some important exceptions).
Section 230 has played a critical role in the development of the modern Internet. Thanks to Section 230, online platforms can allow users to share your thoughts without fear that something they say could cost them millions of dollars or even jail time. In weakening Section 230, Congress risks forcing platforms to kick innocent people off of the Internet entirely'--as has already happened with the disastrous consequences of SESTA/FOSTA. When platforms are forced to become more restrictive in what they allow on their sites, marginalized users are disproportionately silenced.
The EARN IT Act would give platforms two choices: either adhere to the Commission's recommended ''best practices'' or be ready to convince a judge that it ''has implemented reasonable measures'' relating to preventing online child exploitation. In practice, that means that if a platform didn't adhere to the best practices, it would be extremely difficult and costly for an Internet company to have a case relating to child exploitation dismissed under Section 230.
The EARN IT Act doesn't just undermine Section 230; it also violates the First Amendment rights of both platforms and their users. As EFF explained in a letter to Congress, the EARN IT Act seeks to regulate how platforms manage online speech, yet Internet platforms' editorial activities are protected from government interference by the First Amendment. Additionally, to pass constitutional scrutiny, a law that regulates the content of speech must be as narrowly tailored as possible to avoid chilling legitimate speech. But the EARN IT Act isn't narrowly tailored at all: as we explain in our letter, it would inevitably lead platforms to become more restrictive in the types of speech they allow, particularly in their approach to sexual speech, silencing innocent users in the process.
The EARN IT Act Would Undermine Our SecurityMake no mistake: the EARN IT Act is a vehicle to undermine end-to-end encryption. Attorney General William Barr has repeatedly blamed encryption for sexual crimes against children. He's far from the only one: Barr joins a long history of government officials from both parties demanding that encryption providers compromise their users' security.
Under the EARN IT Act, the Commission would have 19 members, three of which are the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission. The ''best practices'' would pass first-round voting if 14 out of the 19 commissioners (including the agency heads) approved them. After that vote, the three agency heads would then have the power to unanimously approve the ''best practices'' for a vote by Congress or reject them.
In other words, any one of the three agency heads could scrap the best practices unilaterally. That structure all but guarantees that the best practices that come before Congress will include a direct attack on our right to communicate privately and securely: one of the government officials could use their veto power to pressure the rest of the Commission to include it.
The bill includes language claiming that the bill won't be used to ''require a provider'... to search, screen, or scan'' for unlawful material, but that's a mere fig leaf: it would be trivially easy for the Commission to present ''best practices'' that don't explicitly require scanning but are only implementable by scanning (or not offering private messaging at all).
All Roads Lead to Disaster for Internet UsersWhen a draft version of the Graham-Blumenthal bill leaked in January, EFF stood with a host of experts to explain what a disaster the bill would be for privacy and free speech. We explained that the EARN IT Act represented a major abandonment of Congress' duties: laws restricting speech online require a careful, transparent lawmaking process. Congress should not offload that duty to an unelected commission, and certainly not an unelected commission stacked with law enforcement surrogates.
The bill's authors responded by introducing the bill's new structure, where the Commission recommends best practices, three government officials approve or veto them, and then they're fast-tracked through Congress. Far from a solution, this convoluted approach underscores the EARN IT Act's inherent flaw: it lets the Attorney General use the ''best practices'' as a pretense to advance his own agenda. To understand why, consider how the system would play out in practice.
The platforms would be able to maintain their legal protections so long as they left users out in the cold, making all of us more susceptible to criminals online.
The bill says that two members of the Commission must have ''current experience in matters related to constitutional law, consumer protection, or privacy.'' But that's hardly a balance: those two members could easily be outvoted by the rest of the Commission, including law enforcement advocates, representatives from big tech companies, and the three agency heads.
Imagine a scenario in which the Attorney General (or one of the other two government officials) insisted on implementing a ''best practice'' that undermined encryption (which, as we've already discussed, is all but guaranteed). They could easily strong-arm the Commission by vetoing any set of best practices that didn't include their proposal.
It gets worse. Now suppose that no best practices get approved by Congress, either because of a standoff between government officials and other members of the Commission or because Congress failed to approve them in the short timeline required. That outcome could be the worst of all: if Congress doesn't approve a ''best practices'' bill within four years of the time the EARN IT Act passes, then Section 230 protections would be weakened for all online platforms, regardless of what measures they take to curb online child exploitation.
More likely, the Commission would take every step it could to avoid that scenario. In other words, Attorney General Barr would have Internet platforms right where he wants them, ready to compromise their users' security and privacy in order to avoid serious repercussions, including both civil and criminal liability. The platforms would be able to maintain their legal protections so long as they left users out in the cold, making all of us more susceptible to criminals online.
A Reminder: The EARN IT Act Doesn't Support ChildrenAs we mentioned when we wrote about the prior version of EARN IT, Section 230 does not exempt online intermediaries from liability for a violation of federal criminal law. If a platform knowingly distributes child exploitation imagery, then the Department of Justice can and must enforce the law. What's more, if an Internet company finds sexual abuse material on its platform, the law requires it to provide that information to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and to cooperate with law enforcement investigations.
EFF and a coalition of organizations recently sent a letter calling on Congress to discard the EARN IT Act and instead focus on measures that would provide support to those working to help children:
While we applaud Congress' desire to address the sexual exploitation of children online, a more effective way to address that crisis would be to better equip law enforcement agencies to investigate it by adding staffing and funding to more effectively use their current lawful investigative tools. ['...] Law enforcement agencies in the United States at all levels'--federal, state, local and tribal'--do not have sufficient personnel or technical resources to investigate and prosecute all of the cases that internet service providers currently refer to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Indeed, we understand that U.S. law enforcement prosecutes only a small fraction of the cases that NCMEC refers to them.
Congress ought to ask the hard questions about why so few NCMEC reports lead to arrests. It ought to consider whether law enforcement agencies need additional training and resources in order to use the Internet to find perpetrators.
In the meantime, Congress must reject the Graham-Blumenthal bill. Undermining our free speech and privacy is not the way to protect children.
Sixteen more years? Russian parliament backs move to keep Putin in power
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:38
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Constitutional changes allowing Vladimir Putin to run for president again in 2024 sailed through both houses of Russia's parliament on Wednesday, raising the prospect he could clock up over three decades in the Kremlin.
FILE PHOTO: Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a session of the lower house of parliament to consider constitutional changes in Moscow, Russia March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
Putin, 67, who has dominated Russia's political landscape for two decades as either president or prime minister, made a dramatic appearance in the lower chamber a day earlier to argue that term limits were less important in times of crisis.
A former KGB officer, Putin is currently required by the constitution to step down in 2024 when his second sequential and fourth presidential term ends. But the amendment which he backed would formally reset his own presidential term tally to zero. Successors would face a two-term limit however.
The 450-seat State Duma, the lower house of parliament, on Wednesday backed the term reset for Putin, along with other amendments to the constitution, by 383 votes, in a third and final reading. Nobody voted against; 43 lawmakers abstained.
Hours later, the 170-seat Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, gave its approval by 160 votes to one with just three abstentions.
If, as Putin critics expect, regional parliaments and the constitutional court now give their blessing and the overall changes are backed in a nationwide vote in April, Putin would have the option to run again for president in 2024.
Were he to do that, and his health and electoral fortunes allowed, he could potentially stay in office for another two back-to-back six-year terms until 2036 at which point he would be 83 and have spent 36 years at the top of Russian politics.
Such a scenario would see him wield power longer than Soviet leader Josef Stalin, but still leave him well short of Tsar Peter the Great, who reigned for 43 years.
PRESIDENT FOR LIFE? Kremlin critic and opposition politician Alexei Navalny has said he believed Putin was trying to become president for life.
Putin has not spelled out his plans after 2024, but has said he does not favor the Soviet-era practice of leaders remaining in place until they die.
Opposition politician and former lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov said on Wednesday he thought the changes had dealt a mortal blow to the country's constitution.
''Russia has lost its constitution, which didn't work anyway,'' Gudkov wrote on social media. ''The fig leaf has fallen off the regime and we can see who turned out to be beneath it.''
Putin in January unveiled a major shake-up of Russian politics and a constitutional overhaul, which the Kremlin billed as a redistribution of power from the presidency to parliament.
But Putin's critics say the reform was merely a smoke screen to give the country's ruling elite a way to keep Putin in power after 2024.
Opposition activists have said they plan to organize protests as early as Friday. Their plans are complicated however by an order from Moscow's government which has banned public gatherings of more than 5,000 people until April 10 due to coronavirus-related risks.
Putin remains popular with many Russians, who see him as a welcome source of stability, even as others complain that he has been in power for too long.
Slideshow (5 Images) Two people staged lone pickets outside the State Duma on Wednesday. One of them Gleb Tumanov, 31, said he was a member of the Yabloko party, and held a banner calling the move ''an usurpation of power.''
''I'm here because of Vladimir Putin's desire to stay for a fifth term or even maybe a sixth,'' said Tumanov.
''It just feels sad. And reminiscent of the Soviet Union. I didn't spend very much time living in the Soviet Union obviously but neither do I have any desire to do so.''
Additional reporting by Andrey Kuzmin, Alexander Marrow, Anton Zverev and Maria Tsvetkova; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Philippa Fletcher
VIDEO - Meet women of US Infantry just days from their historic deployment to front lines
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:31
As part of our live International Women's Day celebration on the plaza, TODAY introduces the very first women from the U.S. Infantry to be sent to the front lines: the women of Company C, First Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, First Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum in Watertown, New York. March 6, 2020
VIDEO - Timothy Burke on Twitter: "The White House inadvertently aired Trump talking off-camera before giving his address, including him saying "ah, fuck" and asking if "anybody has any white stuff"" / Twitter
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:29
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VIDEO - Everything Andrew Yang Said Tonight: Super Tuesday, Coronavirus, Biden Endorsement, Sanders Campaign - YouTube
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:25
VIDEO-EBRO In The Morning on Twitter: "Don Lemon & John Kasich got into a heated exchange last night over Donald Trump's announcement last night." / Twitter
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 06:33
Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
VIDEO-Melissa A. on Twitter: "Don Lemon tries desparately to get democrat official to say something bad about trump and fails miserably ðŸ‚🂠" / Twitter
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 06:32
Brian Urso, Lead Guitarist for Gideons Mob 🎶 @ MobGideons
7h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa @donlemon how SICK is
@donlemon that he is DISAPPOINTED that politicians are working together to fix this thing regardless of party. He is sick.
View conversation · ð'½…á‘Ž ð'•ð''¾Ñ•ä¸…ð'‹Î¹Å‡ (#NOTALAKERSFAN 49-14) @ islangfacts
7h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa Fear mongering at its finest. Instead of keeping people on the same page so we can overcoming this he wants to start a frenzy because people wanna put creating a vaccine of a pandemic solely at the governments feet. Not only is he discrediting the on the clock doctors working ...
View conversation · ð'½…á‘Ž ð'•ð''¾Ñ•ä¸…ð'‹Î¹Å‡ (#NOTALAKERSFAN 49-14) @ islangfacts
7h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa Day and night towards this but he's discrediting God by doubting his ability to work through people so we can eradicate this virus. It's just like the adversary to work through politics. It's already been written.
View conversation · Time Traveller @ James6foot5HIGH
7h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa He did the same thing to Kasich tonight; even said the former governor was disappointing him. Lime is a joke!
View conversation · CAICE @ CAICE55555CAICE
7h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa Don Limon = ignorance and recklessness
View conversation · MAGA MILFS @ maga_milfs
7h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa What's the diff between Don Lemon &a fridge? The fridge doesn't fart when you pull your meat out of it.
View conversation · 🇬🇧🇺🇸 N'Drew ''Œ @ ScotJock
7h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa @rentonMagaUK Now the US media are the ''Enemy of the People'' in a time of emergency.....
View conversation · Kathy Popovich @ curler60
6h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa A terrible person.
View conversation · CryptoStang @ CoinspiracyCo
7h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa He looks like he just got told he doesn't get to go to Disneyland because he got a D on his English test.
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Oh fuck I've got a pen mark - YouTube
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 06:27
VIDEO-Congressman Ken Buck on Twitter: "Instead of the ''Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act'' (FISA), we should rename it to be the ''Federal Initiative to Spy on Americans Act,'' because that's exactly what this unconstitutional surveillance pro
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 06:26
Instead of the ''Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act'' (FISA), we should rename it to be the ''Federal Initiative to Spy on Americans Act,'' because that's exactly what this unconstitutional surveillance program does.
VIDEO-Robert Virgil Case Western NC on Twitter: "Holy Crap! What's the old saying @adamcurry says? Who's the one causing a panic with this stereo typical feminine nature hysterical antics. I'll point the finger at myself as well that being said. I'
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 06:23
Log in Sign up Robert Virgil Case Western NC @ robvc1975 Holy Crap! What's the old saying
@adamcurry says? Who's the one causing a panic with this stereo typical feminine nature hysterical antics. I'll point the finger at myself as well that being said. I'm a lot like my mother as well. ðŸ‚'... 3:46 AM - 12 Mar 2020 Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
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VIDEO-Jon Margulies on Twitter: "@Acadiansheperd @steveouttrim @adamcurry" / Twitter
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 00:05
The fact that Mason Tom Hanks son made a 33 second video (yet another masonic 33 with a Coronavirus story) about his parents having coronavirus wow not wearing a shirt to show off the predominantly placed all seeing eye shows how much of a psyop this all is...
VIDEO-The Daily Wire on Twitter: "Science With AOC: How Not To Transmit Coronavirus" / Twitter
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 00:01
Log in Sign up The Daily Wire @ realDailyWire Science With AOC: How Not To Transmit Coronavirus 5:19 PM - 11 Mar 2020 Twitter by: The Daily Wire @realDailyWire Jack @ TsinoiTalosi
5h Replying to
@realDailyWire @RubinReport bay-null
View conversation · David Ratliff ðŸ>> @ 1ChicagoDave
4h Replying to
@TsinoiTalosi @realDailyWire @RubinReport ðŸ‚ðŸ‚🂠Whoever writes AOC's scripts needs to start writing words out phonetically for her!
View conversation · anondye @ anondye
5h Replying to
@realDailyWire Aoc is proof the eduction system is failing
View conversation · DisgruntledTaco @ DislocatedTaco
4h Replying to
@realDailyWire Counted 10 times
View conversation · Jay V @ jwvisser15
4h Replying to
@DislocatedTaco @realDailyWire Same
View conversation · Adam Smith LL.D. @ TheLoyalTen
5h Replying to
@realDailyWire @AOC But
@AOC is 12
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4h Replying to
@TheLoyalTen @realDailyWire @AOC Voice sounds like it
View conversation · Spik Frank @ spikfrank
5h Replying to
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VIDEO-Alex Salvi on Twitter: "CSPAN continued broadcasting after Pres. Trump finished addressing the nation:" / Twitter
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:26
And? What's the point? How many of us have ever addressed the nation about a global pandemic? I imagine once you were done, you might be relieved, you might even speak through a deep sigh.Are we to condemn
@realDonaldTrump for this, too?Good grief.
VIDEO-Harry tells hoaxers posing as Greta Thunberg that Trump 'has blood on his hands': report | Fox News
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 15:18
A pair of notorious hoaxers have released a recording of a phone call they claim they had with Prince Harry in which he speaks openly about his agony over Megxit, while being duped into believing he was talking to activist Greta Thunberg.
The Duke of Sussex also says President Trump had ''blood on his hands'' in the chat with Russian pranksters, according to The Sun.
Harry was allegedly duped into saying he was ''completely separate'' from most of the royal family in calls recorded by the pranksters.
It does sound remarkably like the Duke of Sussex. Check it out for yourself in the video below.
''I can assure you, marrying a Prince or Princess is not all it's made up to be,'' Prince Harry allegedly says in the recording.
The Russian jokers claim to have fooled him into believing he was talking to 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg and her dad.
Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov '-- known as Vovan and Lexus '-- twice claim to have spoken to Harry, 35, on the landline at his luxury home on Vancouver Island, Canada.
The conversations were on New Year's Eve and January 22.
One of the calls was recorded and published on YouTube and Facebook on Monday night by the hoaxers with an animated cartoon of Harry and Greta.
In both calls, Harry opens up to the fake Greta about the tension at the heart of the royal family.
''You can call me whatever you want '-- Harry is fine,'' he says in one.
He then speaks about how hard it was for him and Meghan, 38, to quit Britain.
''Um, it's, that's probably a conversation for another time, there's lots of layers to it and lots of pieces to the puzzle,'' he says.
''But sometimes the right decision isn't always the easy one.
''And this decision certainly wasn't the easy one but it was the right decision for our family, the right decision to be able to protect my son.
''And I think there's a hell of a lot of people around the world that can identify and respect us for putting our family first.
''But, yeah, it's a tricky one, but we will start a new life.''
Asked by the prankster playing Greta's dad Svante if normal life was worse than royal life, Harry replies: ''Oh no, I think it's much better (chuckles).
''You forget, I was in the military for 10 years so I'm more normal than my family would like to believe.
''But certainly being in a different position now gives us the ability to say things and do things that we might not have been able to do.
''And seeing as everyone under the age of 35 or 36, seems to be carrying out an activist's role, gives us the opportunity to try and make more of a difference without being criticized (chuckles).''
The hoaxers joke about ''Greta'' reading about the royals and Harry replies: ''I can assure you, marrying a prince or princess is not all it's made out to be!''
They ask about reports of Harry being ''stripped'' of his royal titles by Queen Elizabeth after he and Meghan decided to step back.
''No, no, again you mustn't believe what you read. No one has stripped us of our titles,'' Harry replies.
''Because of a technicality within the family, if we are earning money separately from within the family structure, then we obviously have been asked not to use our titles in order to make money, which we would never do.
''But the press managed to jump on that to make it look like we had been stripped.''
Asked about the scandal involving his uncle Prince Andrew's friendship with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Harry says: ''I have very little to say on that.
''But whatever he has done or hasn't done, is completely separate from me and my wife. We operate in a way of inclusivity and we are focusing on community. And so we are completely separate from the majority of my family.''
Harry also revealed he and Meghan have given up on their dream of creating a foundation to help with their climate change and humanitarian work.
''I think at the moment, my wife and I, we were being directed towards starting a foundation but we actually decided there is probably enough foundations out there doing amazing work,'' he says.
''And there's a hell of a lot of money being passed around the world and there are so many problems but we thought we'd just take a moment and see if there was some form of other organization or different entity we could create that could bring people together, rather than us just starting a foundation. We don't think the world needs necessarily another foundation from us.
''So we are just taking a little bit more time to think about how we can use our platform and how we can use our voice to try and encourage real change and real difference as opposed to, you know, small incremental changes.
''As we all know, the world's problems seem to be getting bigger and seem to be happening far quicker '... I think the solutions are far quicker to enable as well, but there needs to be a real shift in mindset. We try and do our best.
''I've spent many, many years being criticized by the media for doing all sorts of things and trying to change the way we think, um, and I can sympathize but at the same time applaud the work that all of you are doing because it's not an easy time and the world is a troubled place and can be very easy to give up and I think what you guys are doing absolutely remarkable.
''Unfortunately the world is being led by some very sick people, so people like yourselves and younger generation are the ones that are going to make all the difference.''
Asked by the fake ''Greta'' about the pressure of dealing with the media, he said: ''The best advice I can give on that is to be able to see through the fear.
''For most, all of my life, I've always been part of a family and part of a country that is scared of the tabloid media because they have so much power and influence and no morals (chuckles). From the moment that I found a wife that was strong enough to be able to stand up for what we believe in together, has basically scared them so much that they've now come out incredibly angry, they've come out fighting, and all they will try and do now is try and destroy our reputation and try and, you know, sink us," Harry reportedly said.
''But what they don't understand is the battle we are fighting against them is far more than just us.
''So I think one of the, what I've always believed, one of the strongest ways to change mindset and be able to raise consciousness and be able to create self-awareness among people, is to challenge the media and say you have a responsibility and you are accountable for everything you are feeding people because you are brainwashing people, so this is far bigger than just us.
''Even though they want to make it personal they are scared because we are some of the first two people willing to stand up to their bullying and my wife, we can't stand back.
''It hasn't been very nice. It's been horrible but we will come out of it stronger people.''
A spokesman for Harry refused to comment.
But royal sources insisted it was ''completely natural'' for him to want to talk to Greta and share his thoughts on climate change.
Harry reportedly urged the hoaxer to ''look into the soul'' of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
''I think he is a good man, so you are one of few people who can reach into his soul and get him to feel and believe in you,'' he said.
''But you have to understand that because he has been around for so long like all of these other people, they are already set in their ways.
''They believe what they want to believe, they believe what they have been told.
Prince Harry's hoaxers have been hoodwinking the great and good with bogus calls for years and count Elton John and "Joker" actor Joaquin Phoenix, among their many victims.
Vovan and Lexus have also duped U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Russians post their phone chats online to their YouTube channel vovan222prank.
Last month, they convinced Sanders he was chatting to Swedish ecoactivist Greta Thunberg. They promised him she could arrange for Kanye West and Billie Eilish to perform a ''cool rap'' for his Democrat campaign. Delighted, Sanders replied: ''They would be willing to do something on the internet?''
In 2015, they had Elton believing he was chatting to Vladimir Putin about laws on gay rights in Russia. The singer, believing he was talking through an interpreter, said it was ''a great privilege to '... speak to one of the most influential people in the whole world''.
President Putin did call Elton to clear up the gaffe. In another audio, the pair tricked U.S. congresswoman Maxine Waters into believing she was helping to support people in need on the fictional island of Chunga-Changa. The pranksters deny claims they are ''Putin Puppets'' who target Western celebrities and politicians to make them look stupid.
VIDEO-Bradley Brewer 🇺🇸 on Twitter: "This is one of the more sobering videos I've ever watched. I beg my fellow Americans, stop taking the #coronavirus lightly- it is incredibly serious. WAKE UP! Watch the full interview with @joerogan & @mtos
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 14:50
Travis Vilandre @ DirtyHolland
30m Replying to
@realBradBrewer @joerogan and
2 others I'd have to say China has only 20,000 patients hospitalized with Corona as of 2 days ago. 58,000 released. With only 44 new cases this week. Even if numbers are wrong it's obviously going away for the season. Unfortunately 3,000 have passed away.
View conversation · Bradley Brewer 🇺🇸 @ realBradBrewer
28m Replying to
@DirtyHolland @joerogan and
2 others The entire country is on lockdown... as that changes, I am afraid that the number will change too...If they report accurately, but it's China, so 🤷ðŸ>>''‚¸
View conversation · Clayton Holland @ Claydog12
59m Replying to
@realBradBrewer @stillgray and
3 others Was a great interview. Why can't the mainstream media produce anything like that. Honest, non sensationalised information.
View conversation · Bradley Brewer 🇺🇸 @ realBradBrewer
58m Replying to
@Claydog12 @stillgray and
3 others Not beneficial I guess.
View conversation · Kathy Sweeney @ KESweeney
11m Replying to
@realBradBrewer @joerogan and
2 others Do the tests show when a person is contagious? All colds and flues have an incubation period from when a person has been exposed to when they experience symptoms and are contagious during this time. To test people with no symptoms is wasteful and is a false positive.
View conversation · Bradley Brewer 🇺🇸 @ realBradBrewer
9m Replying to
@KESweeney @joerogan and
2 others The problem is that, unlike the flu, you are MOST contagious prior to being symptomatic... which makes this very difficult to stop without mass testing to see who has it unawares.
View conversation · TheHero ðŸðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸'š¾¸ @ PhilosopherSto6
53m Replying to
@realBradBrewer @stillgray and
3 others If there was any justice in this world you would be jailed for spreading this hysteria. But you won't. I am calling on you to get off social media when 480K Americans don't die due to this. You should be ashamed.
View conversation · Bradley Brewer 🇺🇸 @ realBradBrewer
50m Replying to
@PhilosopherSto6 @stillgray and
3 others You realize that this is an advisor for MULTIPLE administrations, governors, and world governments, right? Not my thoughts?I will take his word over yours.
View conversation · Sharon Thompson @ Sharonsue1964
2h Replying to
@realBradBrewer @willchamberlain and
3 others I have two FB friends who have had the virus. A dry cough for a week, a fever for a day! Never really felt that bad. Ones that have died would have with the HORRIBLE flu going around this year. I had the flu for10 days home a month sick with cough.
View conversation · ACL @ MapexMasterDrum
1h Replying to
@realBradBrewer @EricMMatheny and
3 others It's only serious because the panic is going to cause unnecessary widespread economic pain.
View conversation ·
VIDEO-'I never really felt unwell' - coronavirus patient - YouTube
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 14:35
VIDEO - Juan Williams pushes back on Jim Clyburn: Shutting down debates 'sounds anti-democratic' | Fox News
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 13:41
After Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., called for the cancellation of further Democratic presidential debates -- a move to essentially declare Joe Biden as the victor -- Fox News contributor Juan Williams pushed back.
Williams said Biden must go through the full process and allow all of the party's voters to make their voices heard.
''[Joe Biden] could fumble the ball,'' Williams told ''America's Newsroom" Wednesday.
In a conversation with NPR as the results were coming in, Clyburn '' who already has endorsed Biden '' said that if Biden were to sweep the six contests, it would be best for the party to put an end to the primary race -- debates and all.
"I think when the night is over, Joe Biden will be the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and quite frankly, if the night ends the way it has begun, I think it is time for us to shut this primary down, it is time for us to cancel the rest of these debates," Clyburn said, "because you don't do anything but get yourself in trouble if you continue in this contest when it's obvious that the numbers will not shake out for you."
Clyburn wasn't the only party elder ready to put an end to the primary brawl.
"This is all about November, these voters want to shut this thing down," famed Democratic strategist James Carville said Tuesday night on MSNBC. "Our mission as a party is to defeat Donald Trump.''
Williams said that there's a need from voters to hear from candidates to know that they're heard.
''That's the whole thing: You have got to have that fire in the belly and you gotta ask people for their votes,'' Williams said.
Williams said that he doesn't understand how a candidate could not stand a debate.
''I just think you got to go through the process -- the process is necessary, it's democratic and shutting things down sounds anti-democratic to me," he added.
VIDEO - Briton who contracted coronavirus in Wuhan explains symptoms - YouTube
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 11:02
VIDEO - Coronavirus Patient Explains The Worst Symptoms | NBC News - YouTube
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:59
VIDEO - Pollster: Biden Needs A Diverse VP Because 'He's A Little Bit Boring' | Crooks and Liars
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:47
Rachel Bitecofer is the new hot pollster (she precisely predicted the 2018 mid-term results when no one else did) and Stephanie Ruhle introduced her this morning to talk about last night's results.
"It's exactly what I anticipated was going to happen, based on the Super Tuesday results," Bitecofer said.
"Biden just basically locking in the nomination. It was really evident to me that the Sanders revolution was going to hit the same brick wall that it hit in 2016. That's the ability to translate it into a broader appeal to the more mainstream elements of the party -- Biden is in a strong position to be the nominee at this point."
"Senator Sanders may not have broadened out his coalition, but those who support him are diehard Sanders supporters. This youth vote is a movement. What does VP Biden need to do in order to bridge that gap? It's huge," Ruhle said.
"You're absolutely right. I think like where the Biden campaign could end up getting astray is in this illusion he's converting a lot of Republicans, right?" Bitecofer warned.
"That's certainly not what we saw in 2018. We saw a suburban realignment mostly powered by turnout and demographic changes in the suburbs. Millennials and Gen-Z voters, Latinos, college educated women, voters of color and younger voters showing up. I think it's tempting to get into the cross-tabs against Democratic primary voters and see things that don't exist. White working-class voters moving towards Biden, right? We're talking about a subset of the white working class electorate that's not necessarily transferable.
"We look at the Trump returns in some of these election returns in Washington, and rural counties, Trump, in a noncompetitive primary, got way more votes in some of the rural places than the entire Democratic field did last night. It really does indicate that the realignment of the Democrats in the urbans/suburban areas and Republicans in rural areas is a major play. That means Biden should be thinking about how do I bring in that Sanders coalition, especially those younger voters, and get them excited about a candidacy that is frankly, you know, not that attractive to them because Biden -- it's not that he's moderate, but that he's a little bit boring, right?"
Ruhle noted that Bitecofer wrote that the most important olive branch is a liberal Dem. "So who would a VP be?"
"So most voters do not care about issues, frankly," she said. "A lot of people get bogged down into issues. But the fact of the matter is, what motivates people at the mass level, I argue, is big things like fear of Trump, negative partisanship, being in power, out of power. There are a set of people for whom issues do matter. For these young Bernie people, issues do matter."
She said Biden's best play at bringing in the Sanders voters is to have someone on the ticket who is going to represent a more progressive platform, someone like Kamala Harris or Stacey Abrams. "Somebody who is not a white male, right? Preferably not white. The party is very diverse."
She pointed out that Harris and Abrams "hit three metrics at once."
VIDEO - Michael Moore Blames Trump For Bernie Sanders Losing Michigan Primary'... | Weasel Zippers
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:43
ZIP |March 11, 2020 10:32 am
VIDEO - Pelosi Pushes For Vote Tomorrow On Dems' Coronavirus Relief Bill | Crooks and Liars
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:39
House Democrats held a meeting this morning to get out in front of Trump on a coronavirus relief bill and make sure their priorities are included, MSNBC reporter Leigh Anne Caldwell said.
"It's to ensure that people who aren't receiving any income because of coronavirus get relief and that those who are food insecure also get some relief," she said.
What's that translating to in a draft bill in the House of Representatives, including sick leave for people who either have to be quarantined because of coronavirus or who actually have the virus. Other things, an extension of unemployment insurance and an extension of food stamps and aid for kids who get free and reduced lunches at school, but can't go to school because their schools are closed."
What's not included, she said, is Trump's proposal for a payroll tax cut. "That has fallen flat on Capitol Hill among Democrats and even some Republicans are saying if people are not working, then a payroll tax cut does no good. So what also is not included in the House bill at this point is anything else that the president is wanting but we do know that Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Mnuchin spoke moments ago and Pelosi wants a vote on this bill tomorrow before they leave town for a week."
VIDEO - Michigan voter who Biden swore at speaks out on 'Fox & Friends' | Fox News Video
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 09:16
(C)2020 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. All market data delayed 20 minutes.
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VIDEO - Daughter's Story: family saved from COVID-19 virus with Vit C in Wuhan - YouTube
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:39
VIDEO-Jason Kint on Twitter: "''It appears increasingly they're all dependent on Google'' ''I don't think that's a healthy environment'' ''Sounds like it may be an interesting topic for a future hearing.'' - @SenMikeLee ðŸ'ž me.
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 00:29
''It appears increasingly they're all dependent on Google''''I don't think that's a healthy environment''''Sounds like it may be an interesting topic for a future hearing.'' -
@SenMikeLee ðŸ'ž me.
VIDEO-Notorious B.A.G. on Twitter: "@adamcurry : Wolf Glitcher" / Twitter
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 00:20
Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
VIDEO-Cuomo challenges Purell, Amazon, eBay by introducing New York-made hand sanitizer | TheHill
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 22:38
New York state is producing and distributing its own hand sanitizer free of charge amid reports of price gouging of the product on the market as the coronavirus outbreak spreads globally and across the U.S.
''We're introducing NYS clean hand sanitizer, made conveniently by the state of New York,'' Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Monday. ''This is a superior product to products now on the market.''
NEW: Amid coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces state hand sanitizer'--"made, conveniently, by the state of New York"'--that will be provided to schools, MTA, prisons and more."It has a very nice floral bouquet." #coronavirus #covid19
'-- ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 9, 2020 Cuomo said the state's product is 75 percent alcohol compared to name-brand competitor Purell, which is made of 70 percent alcohol. Health officials recommend using a hand sanitizer made of at least 60 percent alcohol.
The New York product also has a ''very nice floral bouquet'' scent, Cuomo added.
''To Purell, and Mr. Amazon and Mr. eBay, if you continue the price gouging, we will introduce our product, which is superior to your product," Cuomo said. "And you don't even have the floral bouquet, so stop price gouging.''
A spokesperson for eBay said the online retailer is ''taking significant measures to block or quickly remove items'' that make ''false health claims'' and ensure that sellers on the platform follow local laws and its policies.
Samantha Williams, a spokesperson for GOJO, the parent company of Purell, said it does not set a retail price for consumers, adding that ''we feel strongly that there is no place for price-gouging, especially during times of elevated public health concern.''
Williams added that the company has not seen price gouging by any GOJO-authorized retailers.
A spokesperson for Amazon was not immediately available for comment.
New York will distribute its product to government agencies, including schools, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and prisons.
Cuomo said creating and distributing the product is cheaper for the state than purchasing competing brands.
Cuomo announced 37 new confirmed cases of the virus in New York, bringing the total to 142 across the state. The hardest hit region is Westchester with 98 total cases, including 16 of the newly-announced cases.
There are also 19 confirmed cases in New York City, 17 in Nassau County, four in Rockland County, two in Saratoga, one in Suffolk County and one in Ulster.
Lawmakers have called out Amazon over reports of price gouging of hand sanitizer amid the coronavirus outbreak. Last week Sen. Ed Markey Edward (Ed) John MarkeyCuomo challenges Purell, Amazon, eBay by introducing New York-made hand sanitizer Hillicon Valley: Barr offers principles to prevent online child exploitation | Facebook removes misleading Trump census ads | House passes bill banning TSA use of TikTok On The Money: Waters calls for resignation of two Wells Fargo directors, floats criminal referral for ex-CEO | Stocks plunge amid fresh coronavirus fears | Judge gives Dems one week to make move in Trump tax return case MORE (D-Mass.) questioned the online retailer over reports of up to 2,000 percent markups on some items.
''Internet-based retailers such as have a particular responsibility to guard against price gouging in current circumstances as consumers '-- who are finding the shelves of local brick-and-mortar stores bare, and who may wish to avoid venturing into crowded stores and shopping malls '-- turn to the internet,'' Markey wrote in a letter to the company.
In response, Amazon's Vice President Brian Huseman wrote to Markey on Friday that price gouging will not be tolerated on Amazon.
Huseman said Amazon removed more than 530,000 offers from its store over coronavirus-based price gouging, and suspended more than 2,5000 seller accounts in its U.S. store alone for violating price gouging policies, according to a letter dated March 6.
--This report was updated at 3:34 p.m.
VIDEO-Stephen Milot on Twitter: "" / Twitter
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 22:19
Kelly Permuy @ KellyPermuy
8h I'm kind of amused, mostly mortified. This man is trying to persuade people to trust and believe in him? I've seen Joe videos and wondered if they were edited to put him in a bad light. No edit here. Shows Joe and his temper. Slightest provocation, over reactive response
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Does vaping make you more susceptible to coronavirus? - CBS News
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 18:17
The CDC's latest National Youth Tobacco Survey found that a staggering 1 in 3 American high school students used some type of tobacco product in the previous 30 days, and for the vast majority of them that means e-cigarettes . Millions of teens have gotten hooked on vaping .
Last summer, that trend led to a disturbing uptick in deaths and serious respiratory illnesses among otherwise healthy young people linked to vaping . And now, experts caution that the habit might also make young people in the U.S. more susceptible to the coronavirus.
In a press briefing on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed that, despite the fact that older people are generally most at risk of serious illness from coronavirus , one of the current cases in New York is an otherwise healthy 22-year-old man.
"Why is a 22-year-old man stable but hospitalized at this point? The one factor we know of is he is a vaper," de Blasio said. "So, we don't know of any preexisting conditions, but we do think the fact that he is a vaper is affecting this situation."
On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterated its guidance that older Americans and people with medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and chronic lung disease are most susceptible to coronavirus . People who are immunosuppressed because they have cancer or they're on a type of medication that weakens their immune system are also more at risk.
But if what Mayor de Blasio is saying is true '-- if vaping is a factor in contracting the coronavirus illness, known as COVID-19 '-- then that could affect a huge group of Americans.
"Well, if there was ever a reason to quit, here's another one," Dr. Tara Narula, a CBS News medical contributor and a board certified cardiologist at New York's Lenox Hill Hospital, said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning." "Anything that's going to compromise your lungs is going to increase your risk of being susceptible. We know that smoking decreases your ability to really fight infection."
Dr. Joanna Cohen, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, agrees.
"We know through the deaths and severe respiratory illnesses that we had this summer that there's certainly lung injury happening to vapers," she told CBS News. "And if your lungs are injured, obviously they're going to have a more difficult time dealing with other challenges."
Both doctors pointed to early data coming out of China as possible evidence.
"There's also some initial data out of China," Cohen said. "They didn't have vaping, but they had smokers and former smokers, looking at who presented with COVID-19, and they did find that the severity of illness seemed to be associated with being a smoker or former smoker. Again, that would suggest the more lung injury you have might affect the disease severity. So we can't say for sure, but it's certainly something to be concerned about."
Narula also noted that the gender demographics of smoking in China could point to a connection.
"In China, we see more men dying from COVID-19 than women," she said. "And one of the theories is that 50% of men in China smoke; less than 2% of women smoke. So this smoking may have a real impact."
Given that individuals with chronic lung disease are especially at risk of contracting COVID-19, it plays to reason that vaping might also make you more susceptible, as it has been shown to cause lung damage.
"We know e-cigarette aerosol contains numerous chemicals that can cause an inflammatory response in the lung tissue," Dr. Michael B. Steinberg, of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, told CBS News. "In general, inflammation can lead to tissue damage, cause airway constriction, and has the potential to increase risk of infection. Since the e-cigarette phenomenon is still recent, we just don't have as well-established information from humans as to the extent of this damage."
While most experts acknowledge that it's still too early to know for sure, the possibility of a connection between vaping and COVID-19 suggests that young people and others who use e-cigarettes should take the threat seriously.
"It's so early in terms of the studies that are being done, but I think it's certainly a possibility that vaping and inhaling foreign substances into your lungs could make you more susceptible to other lung infections," Cohen said. "And I guess what I would suggest is that young people shouldn't think that they're immune to COVID-19, particularly if they're vaping. You might just want to get checked to make sure that it's nothing serious if you're having any respiratory symptoms."
VIDEO-Joe Rogan Experience #1439 - Michael Osterholm - YouTube
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 16:05
VIDEO-Dutch PM tells nation not to shake hands '' then does - BBC News
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 11:24
The Dutch prime minister has apparently been caught out by his own handshake policy, moments after announcing it to his nation on live TV.
Speaking during a press conference, Mark Rutte told people to use alternative greetings to help combat the coronavirus '' before then shaking the hand of the official standing beside him.
Realising his mistake, Rutte said "sorry" and "we can't do that anymore".
VIDEO-Media outlet claims Trump 'storms out' of coronavirus briefing, ignores questions. Video shows otherwise. - TheBlaze
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 11:15
Did President Donald Trump storm out of a press conference about coronavirus and refuse to answer questions related to his possible exposure to the rapidly spreading disease? That's what the Daily Mail claimed.
"Trump REFUSES to say if he has been tested for coronavirus and storms out of White House briefing on crisis," a tweet from the news outlet blasted.
But, as it turned out, video from the briefing shows the allegation doesn't hold water.
What actually happened?The president gave the media an update about the government's ongoing response to the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., during which he addressed numerous questions from the press corps.
However, one question the president did not address was whether he has been tested for coronavirus. As the Daily Mail noted in its story, the White House did answer that question.
"The President has not received COVID-19 testing because he has neither had prolonged close contact with any known confirmed COVID-19 patients, nor does he have any symptoms," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.
In fact, video of the conclusion of Monday's press conference shows that Trump did not refuse to answer the question '-- nor did he storm out of the briefing room '-- but rather he thanked the media for their questions and calmly walked away from the lectern as journalists continued to scream questions.
The scene resembled nearly every press gaggle that the president has ever addressed. He in no way stormed out.
In response, the Daily Mail was widely rebuked.
"This is such garbage. Not AT ALL what happened. Wow," one person responded.
"I'll take 'Things that didn't happen' for $500," another person responded.
Trump himself even responded, saying, "Fake News!!"
VIDEO-'You're full of S**T': Joe Biden LOSES it, swears and yells at autoworker for pressing him on banning guns and WOW (watch)
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 11:04
This is unlike anything we've ever seen from a politician and yes, that includes Trump. Sure, Trump said a bunch of stuff that he quite honestly should never have said, but he never came off as an angry 'scared' old man like Joe Biden does in this video when an autoworker confronted him on guns.
Joe Biden is touring an auto plant in Michigan, a *must win* for Democrats.A blue collar Union autoworker asks Joe about protecting gun rights.Biden:'' Screams at voter'' Points finger in his face'' Says he will ban ''AR-14s'''' Insults him'' Looks
'-- Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 10, 2020
Guys, Joe is in trouble.
Did he say AR-14?
Joe Biden to Michigan voter: "You're full of shit."
'-- Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 10, 2020
And we're not being mean or snarky '... honestly, this guy has no business walking around without assistance let alone campaigning to be president.
Everybody, this is no longer funny. Biden literally looks terrified. Someone with a heart on the other side of the aisle needs to step in & stop this now.
'-- Stacey '' CPAC Wuhan Survivor (@ScotsFyre) March 10, 2020
This. ^
We get it, Democrats want to beat Trump and they know Sanders is a crazy socialist but this is just cruel at this point.
When even WE feel sorry for the guy?
Yeah its about to get really rough for these Democrats candidates in the upper midwest. They're not going to like to hear what we have to say. ðŸ‚
'-- Jerry Fletcher (@guntotingteabag) March 10, 2020
Way to court voters there, #SunsetJoe
'-- Paul Stricker (@StrickTweet) March 10, 2020
Biden is doing a good job helping the Trump administration paint him as senile.
'-- Highly Offensive' (@OffensivelyHigh) March 10, 2020
"How to make friends and keep them" '' Joe Biden
'-- K Blank (@kjblank80) March 10, 2020
The real takeaway from this(aside from "AR-14") is that Biden has no clue what he's talking about with regard to guns. The worker presses him on semiautomatic firearms and all Biden can do is yell at him about not needing 100 round magazines.
'-- AdamInHTownTX (@AdamInHTownTX) March 10, 2020
The Biden campaign is Elder Abuse.
'-- Lynsey 🇺🇸 (@lynseyross999) March 10, 2020
We're starting to wonder '...
Hot MESS, aisle 5! AOC's attempt to roast Rep. Paul Gosar about 'dying' belongs in the BACKFIRE Hall of Fame
SCUMBAG alert: WaPo-selected 'tech expert' THRASHED for wishing death by #coronavirus on Trump (he tried deleting but TOO late)
So he's ignorant AND racist? HA! Woke Dr. Eugene Gu reaps ratio WHIRLWIND for his 'Wuhan virus is RACIST' self-own
VIDEO-"Wait, Wait, Wait, Wait, Wait..." - JOE BIDEN Tours Michigan Auto Plant -- Ends Up Screaming at Worker Over "AR-14" Guns (VIDEO)
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 10:44
''Wait, Wait, Wait, Wait, Wait'...'' '' JOE BIDEN Tours Michigan Auto Plant '-- Ends Up Screaming at Worker Over ''AR-14'' Guns (VIDEO) by Jim Hoft March 10, 2020
''Blue-Collar Joe Biden'' toured an auto plant in Michigan on Tuesday morning.
He ended up screaming at a worker about guns.
Joe Biden: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Take your AR'... Here's the deal'...''
Joe Biden tours auto factory in a Michigan to meet with workers, ends up yelling at a worker about guns.
Blue-collar Joe hard at work.
Did he tell them he said he's willing to sacrifice their jobs for the Green New Deal, too?
'-- Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) March 10, 2020
VIDEO - YouTube
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 10:12
VIDEO-Alan Dershowitz says Barack Obama 'conned' him and he would now reconsider his 2012 vote for him - TheBlaze
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:24
Renowned liberal Democratic lawyer and civil liberties advocate Alan Dershowitz accused former President Barack Obama of betraying the state of Israel and personally deceiving him in a recent interview with Ben Shapiro that aired on Sunday.
Dershowitz explained to Shapiro that Obama assured him in a private meeting that he would vigorously defend Israel, but then did the opposite.
Obama stabbed Israel in the back, Dershowitz says"I think President Obama, for whom I voted twice, and would now reconsider my second vote for him, he conned me," he said. "He called me into the Oval Office and he said 'I have Israel's back' and I didn't realize what he meant is to put a target on it and stab them," Dershowitz said, referring to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power's abstention vote during a December 2016 vote condemning Israel.
"As he was leaving office, he ordered his representative to the U.N. to not veto a resolution which declared...the Western Wall, the holiest place in Judaism to be occupied territory," he continued.
"It was outrageous," the Harvard Law School professor added while explaining how Obama's decision "legitimized" anti-Israel activism among the political center-left and the Democratic Party.
It is not the first time that Dershowitz has blasted Obama.
In February, Dershowitz claimed he had information that indicated Obama directed the FBI to investigate someone at the request of billionaire philanthropist and left-wing donor George Soros.
"I have some information as well about the Obama administration '-- which will be disclosed in a lawsuit at some point, but I'm not prepared to disclose it now '-- about how President Obama personally asked the FBI to investigate somebody on behalf of George Soros, who was a close ally of his," Dershowitz claimed.
'Guilt by Association'Dershowitz made the comments regarding Obama's Israel policy on Shapiro's "Sunday Special" show where he promoted his most recent book "Guilt by Association" and discussed his work as an expert witness in Trump's impeachment trial.
The criminal defense and constitutional lawyer also used the opportunity to blast "idiots" who misrepresented the arguments he made as to what constituted an "impeachable offense."
"When I did my argument in front of the Senate, no one ever took it on based on the merits," he said. "If I had been on Hillary Clinton's side, if she had been impeached, I'd be the greatest scholar in the history of constitutional law, according to the left. But they don't like where I came down on this case, so they attacked me personally."
VIDEO-Don Purser on Twitter: "Coronavirus Patient From Diamond Princess Explains What The Illness Feels Like. Very informative and interesting! (I follow back Patriots.)" / Twitter
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:15
Log in Sign up Don Purser @ DGPurser Coronavirus Patient From Diamond Princess Explains What The Illness Feels Like. Very informative and interesting!(I follow back Patriots.) 11:55 AM - 8 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Don Purser @DGPurser Suzanne @ MayKelly
Mar 8 Replying to
@DGPurser Now people will go buy Gatorade.
View conversation · Katie Bratt @ katie_bratt
Mar 8 Replying to
@MayKelly @DGPurser The company should send him a case.
View conversation · 🇧🇷Mauro Santos🍺🷠@ MauroVS
Mar 8 Replying to
@DGPurser If COVID-19 finds favorable conditions to multiply, it will not care about age, it will be aggressive.COVID-19 Mutation and Evolution View conversation · 🇧🇷Mauro Santos🍺🷠@ MauroVS
Mar 8 Replying to
@DGPurser Exponential growth and epidemics View conversation · Lynn Sellick-Lane @ LynnSellickLane
Mar 8 Replying to
@DGPurser Good one. Thanks for sharing.
View conversation · Marlemar @ Marlene40331124
Mar 8 Replying to
@DGPurser Thank you for this post it's very informative
View conversation · Satan's Favorite Globalist @ s_globalist
Mar 8 Replying to
@DGPurser It's good to finally hear from someone who has had the virus.
View conversation · Freedom1776 @ JMoss1858
Mar 8 Replying to
@DGPurser And he has the communist regime of China to thank for his illness. China should be held financially responsible for everyones medical bills and all business' lost revenue.
View conversation · ðŸ'¥ Dan p ðŸ'¥ðŸ'šðŸ'£ðŸ--­'" @ DanPeacock12
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Mon, 09 Mar 2020 15:41
VIDEO-Mr. Jones'¸ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ on Twitter: "Pelosi on Trump's tax cuts: ''This is Armageddon!'' Pelosi on #WuhanVirus: ''Civilization as we know it is at stake'' ðŸðŸ¤...''‚¸ THIS is the problem in America...🤷''‚¸
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 13:50
Log in Sign up Mr. Jones'¸ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ @ MrJones_tm Pelosi on Trump's tax cuts: ''This is Armageddon!''Pelosi on
#WuhanVirus: ''Civilization as we know it is at stake'' ðŸðŸ¤...''‚¸THIS is the problem in America...🤷''‚¸ 9:16 AM - 9 Mar 2020 Twitter by: The Daily Wire @realDailyWire The_Real_Bamaslamma @ TBamaslamma
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@MrJones_tm View conversation · Foolscap Steve @ Foolscap8
2h Replying to
@TBamaslamma @MrJones_tm Pelosi is still worried about Y2K
View conversation · LeAnna Perez @ LeAnnaP1975
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@MrJones_tm @RealDeanCain More Pelosi 'wisdom' View conversation · Visions By Ferrand @ artwitch
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@MrJones_tm View conversation · Slugger Surgalla @ NiverhouseHotel
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@MrJones_tm @rowen316 How does a mindless aberration like Pelosi get anywhere near the Speakership?
View conversation · joan libbra ðŸ'Ÿ'''¸'®¸ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ @ joaniel47
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@MrJones_tm @RealDeanCain She's always been a problem .
View conversation · Kristen Hoffman @ Kristen87455636
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@MrJones_tm She's the PROBLEM in AMERICA
View conversation · Randall Phillips @ RandallCRP216
2h Replying to
@MrJones_tm @RealDeanCain I'm watching this and other clips to get my Pelosi schtick down when I portray her like 5 times in Gridiron show this weekend. She's a definite hand talker! ðŸ'
View conversation · ' á'ᖇá—(C)ᗰᗰI ' @ kidstookitall
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@RandallCRP216 @MrJones_tm @RealDeanCain I've heard if you down a bottle of wine first, it will be so much easier.
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@MrJones_tm @RealDeanCain I thought Mad Cow disease had been curedðŸ!
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VIDEO-Don Purser on Twitter: "Pelosi says "Civilization, as we know it, is at stake." Nancy, no one wants civilization, as you know it. Not now, not EVER!! (I follow back Patritos.)" / Twitter
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 13:48
This ONLY happens when racist swine demorats run an American City (i.e. New York, Baltimore, , Philadelphia, D.C., Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle)!!!!!!!!
VIDEO-The Hill on Twitter: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "Just generally, I usually always cast my vote for a woman. I just do."" / Twitter
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 13:46
Log in Sign up The Hill @ thehill Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "Just generally, I usually always cast my vote for a woman. I just do." 7:15 AM - 9 Mar 2020 Twitter by: The Hill @thehill Kambree @ KamVTV
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@thehill How sexist of her.
View conversation · Rand Cooley @ randcool
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@KamVTV @thehill whether a good candidate or not
View conversation · Today in Danistan @ RealDanLee
4h Replying to
@thehill Imagine the howling if a male politician said he generally votes for men because they're men.
View conversation · Praic Delahunt @ PraicD
4h Replying to
@RealDanLee @thehill Statistically men do vote for men because they're men
View conversation · Burnouts3 @ Burnouts3s3
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@thehill So she's voting for Tulsi Gabbard?
View conversation · serious_literature @ serious_lit
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@thehill Now she gets a chance to vote for Tulsi.
View conversation · Nur Jahan @ Nur_Jahan786
4h Replying to
@thehill That's discrimination ..
View conversation · Q Who 🌍🛰¸ðŸšðŸ'🛸👽🖖🪐🌌 @ QContinuum14
4h Replying to
@thehill Well unless Joe or Bernie decide to self-identify as female, that's going to be a tad of a problem.
View conversation · Dave Pawlikowski @ PawlikowskiDave
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@QContinuum14 @thehill Its early yet. Full pandering mode hasn't been fully engaged.
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VIDEO-Gavin Newsom Praises Trump/Pence Response To Virus In California, 'Every Single Thing They Said They Followed Thru On' | Weasel Zippers
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 12:58
Truth versus the narrative.
California Gov. Newsom had kind words for Pres. Trump and Vice Pres. Pence when asked about the administration's handling of coronavirus and cruise ships:
"We had a very long conversation, and every single he said they followed through on."
'-- ABC News (@ABC) March 9, 2020
VIDEO-'I think we've got a great shot to win in Michigan ... Washington': Sanders | ABC News - YouTube
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 12:53
VIDEO-Unruly Passengers Upset By Sneezing, Coughing Cause Flight To Divert To Denver '' CBS Denver
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 12:44
March 8, 2020 at 11:18 pmDENVER (CBS4) '' A plane headed to Newark, New Jersey, from Eagle, Colorado, was diverted to Denver International Airport on Sunday afternoon. United Airlines officials say more than one passenger became disruptive and had to be removed.
United officials tell CBS4 the flight landed without incident. Law enforcement was there as it landed.
The flight re-departed for Newark about 30 minutes later.
Right now on a @united flight from VAIL to Newark. Got diverted to Denver for ''security reasons'''.... now landed. Rumor is that there was a ''couging passenger'' that is being de-planed. This is all rumor. Pilot has not given details. Stay tuned. #COVID #CoronaVirus #🤧
'-- Jordan Safirstein MD (@CardiacConsult) March 8, 2020
At least one passenger claims a passenger was making unreasonable requests after they were seated next to someone who was coughing and sneezing.
United Airlines says this ''was in no way a medical situation.'' Later airline officials told CBS4 one passenger was sneezing due to allergies and was evaluated on the plane. They did not have a fever.
While that passenger was allowed to fly to Newark, the disruptive passengers were removed.
The FBI is investigating because this situation happened mid-flight. It's not clear if any charges will be filed.
Comments (10)
VIDEO - San Jose's first tiny home community for the homeless opens | KTVU FOX 2
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 11:43
San Jose's first tiny home community opensIt's been years in the making and San Jose's first tiny home community officially opened on Thursday, complete with security and resident services. Governor Gavin Newsom was on hand along with Mayor Sam Liccardo to tour the units.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - It's been years in the making and now San Jose's first tiny home community officially opened on Thursday, complete with security and resident services.
Bicycle racks hang by the doors and flowers line the walkways at The Maybury Bridge Housing Project. Located at 1408 Maybury Rd. in the city's northeast corner, the atmosphere is intended to make it feel like home.
Both Governor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Sam Liccardo were on hand to tour the units that took years to conceive and thousands of volunteer hours to build. Now residents have moved off the streets and into the units.
Newsom said addressing homelessness needs to be a top priority.
"I'm in for the long haul. We own this. We're not pointing fingers anymore. We own this," said Newsom. He said public projects like this are just the beginning. "The work that was done her can quickly be replicated at half the time elsewhere, so I could not be more enthusiastic about where we're going to be in two or three years."
More on KTVU's coverage on homelessness The tiny homes are meant to be temporary. Residents will stay only about 60 days or until they can get into permanent housing.
"This is intended to have individuals become acclimated to being part of a community, to learning how to take care of their units, building independent living skills," said Beatriz Ramos with HomeFirst, a San Jose nonprofit that seeks to house the homeless.
"We need to get them housed safely and this is the kind of place where they can be until that apartment opens," Mayor Liccardo said.
Though people are still moving in, at least one resident was already moving out. She already found a permanent place nearby.
"It's going really, really well. We're excited to see positive results," Ramos said.
So far nine people have moved in. The hope is to fill all 40 spots in the coming weeks. A second site is already in the works.
Don't forget to download the new and improved KTVU mobile app
VIDEO-Robinhood app down again, during another historic trading day
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 11:29
Free stock-trading pioneer Robinhood is experiencing another major outage Monday, keeping clients on the sidelines during another historic day for stocks.
"Trading is currently down on Robinhood and we're investigating the issue," the Silicon Valley start-up said Monday shortly after the opening bell. "We are experiencing issues with equities, options and crypto trading. We are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible."
Around 10:30 a.m. Robinhood tweeted that the platform was partially restored.
The outage coincided with a dismal day for stocks on Monday. The major averages cratered as investors braced for the economic fallout from the coronavirus and a shocking all-out oil price war. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tanked 1,568 points, while the S&P 500 plunged 5.8%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 5.4%.
The heavy volume sell-off triggered a key market circuit breaker minutes into the opening bell. Trading was halted for 15 minutes until reopening at 9:49 a.m. ET.
Robinhood's outage comes after days of technical problems starting on Monday, March 2, when clients missed out on the biggest one-day point gain in Dow in history. The millennial-favored app, which has about 10 million users, was plagued with glitches for two days, causing a wave of furious clients.
The company is facing legal fallout from last week's outage. A Robinhood client based in Sarasota, Florida, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of himself and other traders Wednesday evening. Travis Taaffe alleges that Robinhood was negligent and breached its contract by failing to "provide a functioning platform," leaving traders unable to move money while stock markets surged.
Robinhood users took to social media to vent outrage over the technical issues. A Twitter account "Robinhood Class Action" gained more than 7,000 followers in recent days.
The trading app gained popularity with young investors by offering free stock trading in 2013; however, since then, free trading has become industry standard, with major online brokers dropping commissions last year. Many twitter users said that would be canceling their account with Robinhood due to the persistent technical issues.
Robinhood's 44-page customer agreement outlines that it will not be responsible for "temporary interruptions in service due to maintenance, Website or App changes, or failures" and isn't liable for extended interruptions due to failures "beyond" the company's control.
WATCH: How regulators may respond to Robinhood's system-wide outages
'-- With reporting from CNBC's Kate Rooney.
VIDEO - 2020 Battle for the White House Chess Commercial - YouTube
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 10:49
VIDEO - Coronavirus, Covid-19 News: How the Virus Kills - Bloomberg
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VIDEO-Massachusetts Bill Would Outlaw Body Size Discrimination '' CBS Boston
Sun, 08 Mar 2020 15:06
March 8, 2020 at 12:41 pmBOSTON (AP) '-- Lawmakers and advocates are planning to gather at the Massachusetts Statehouse to push legislation that would ban body size discrimination.
The bill is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Becca Rausch of Needham and Democratic Rep. Tram Nguyen of Andover.
At an event at the Statehouse on Tuesday, Rausch and Tram plan to join advocates and eating disorder experts to talk about the hidden impact of weight discrimination in employment, health care, and education.
The bill aims to make discrimination on the basis of height and weight illegal in Massachusetts while also addressing body size stigma and the discrimination that often accompanies it.
The bill would add to the state's anti-discrimination laws the words ''height or weight, unless for the purposes of compliance with any established state, federal, or industry safety standard'' along with other factors including race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
The House version of the bill has more than a dozen co-sponsors, both Democrat and Republican.
The bill has yet to be voted on by either the Massachusetts House or Senate.
((C) Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Coronavirus outbreak forces NCAA to ban fans from March Madness tournaments - MarketWatch
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:43
The latest coronavirus information shows that, as of March 11, the virus has infected over 121,000 people and killed more than 4,300 worldwide. Many cities and organizations are canceling events that call for a lot of people to gather in person. Here's how the major sports leagues and organizations are handling the ongoing coronavirus situation.
The NCAA released a statement outlining that the men's and women's NCAA tournaments, aka March Madness, will take place without fans. Only ''essential staff and limited family'' will be permitted at games, according to NCAA president Mark Emmert.
So far, the Ivy League canceled its conference basketball tournaments over coronavirus fears. The Mid-American Conference and the Big West Conference have banned fans from attending their men's and women's basketball end-of-season tournaments.
Many colleges across the U.S. have moved classes online, and in some cases, canceled classes altogether.
''If I show up to an arena and there ain't no fans in there, I ain't playing.''
Those were the words of Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James on March 6 when asked if he would play in an empty stadium if the NBA banned fans from attending games over fear of COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus. James has since re-addressed the issue, saying he would ''listen to the people that's keeping track of what's going on.''
The NBA has had multiple league-wide conference calls where teams were told to prepare for the possibility of playing games this season in empty arenas, or neutral site locations where there is less of a coronavirus threat, according to ESPN DIS, -5.33% .
The NBA also sent out a memo stating that the league will curb locker room access to all non-essential personnel, including media. It's unclear how long such policies will be in place.
Also in the memo, the league informed players to limit signing autographs, and give fist bumps as opposed to high-fives. It's now mandatory for NBA teams to distribute hand sanitizer to players and team staff.
The San Francisco Mayor's office announced a ban of large group events of 1,000 or more people, which would include Golden State Warriors home games. The Warriors plan to play home games without fans for the foreseeable future, according to ESPN.
Major League Baseball informed teams that it plans to play all spring training games, and start the regular season as scheduled.
''While MLB recognizes the fluidity of this rapidly evolving situation, our current intention is to play spring training and regular season games as scheduled,'' the league said in a statement.
Like the NBA, MLB has also decided to close clubhouses to non-essential personnel and media, temporarily.
Baseball fans are still coming to spring training baseball games, but they aren't getting the same access they normally do. The league sent a memo to teams urging players to pre-sign items like baseballs and bats for fans -- a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an effort to limit people's potential exposure to the virus.
While the games appear to be proceeding as scheduled, the league has informed teams to prepare for the possibility of playing games without fans.
The most popular sports league in the U.S. has not publicly said much about how it is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the NFL is ''closely monitoring developments'' related to the coronavirus, but have not publicly addressed the issue. It's the offseason for the NFL as the league has not had a significant league event since Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2, 2020.
The next upcoming fan event on the league's calendar is the NFL Draft on April 23. Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesperson, said plans for the draft, ''remain in place.''
The National Hockey league is yet another league that has temporarily closed its locker rooms to all nonessential personnel in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Something to watch will be what happens to the San Jose Sharks. Santa Clara County, where the Sharks play, reported its first coronavirus death and has since banned all ''mass gatherings'' with more than 1,000 attendees.
The team did not respond to a request to comment for this story,
Tokyo Olympics
One Olympic Committee member told Reuters that a one or two year delay of the Tokyo games was ''feasible,'' but Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee shot down such an idea.
''There is no plan now to change our plans,'' Mori said Wednesday morning.
Many members of the International Olympic Committee have repeatedly said the Tokyo games will open on July 24 as planned. One Senior IOC member, Dick Pound, said that a Olympics cancellation is at least possible.
The Olympics first began in 1896 and have been canceled three other times, all during the World Wars.
Other leagues around the world
Europe's Champions League soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund is being played without fans at the Parc des Princes in France.
Many Serie A matches, the top Italian soccer league, have been played without fans. Similar to the Olympics, Serie A matches have not been canceled since World War II. The coronavirus outbreak has forced Italy to quarantine millions of people in the northern part of the country.
Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball has delayed the start of its season over fears of spreading the coronavirus. The NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito said, ''We can't play games in the current situation.'' An official start date for the season has not been set.
Federal government telework could become more widespread to limit coronavirus outbreak - The Washington Post
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:34
The administration has not issued a widespread mandate, but some offices already have acted. The Securities and Exchange Commission late Monday became the first federal agency in Washington to clear 2,400 employees from its headquarters after discovering that an employee might be infected.
On Tuesday, the International Trade Administration started sending staff home to self-quarantine if they have traveled out of the country. The State Department told its staff to set up emergency teleconference drills '-- and alternate who comes into the office to use classified systems to ensure that colleagues only gather in small groups, according to an internal memo.
The virus's fast spread led many private companies weeks ago to send their staffs home to work remotely. But some corners of the federal government, the country's largest employer, are only now confronting what could be an unprecedented shift to how they serve the public '-- for weeks or even months.
Close to half the federal workforce was eligible to telework when President Trump took office, on average one or two days a week, for snow days or sporadically. But few did it full time. Then the Trump administration scaled back working from home as a regular practice at multiple large agencies.
Sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter to track the outbreak. All stories linked within the newsletter are free to access.
Now managers are scrambling to expand the policy. Employees who now telework a day or two a week could expand to full time. Others could work from home for the first time.
Remote work is the linchpin of the White House's escalating emergency planning efforts, which could be deployed as the crisis worsens. With coronavirus cases now in 36 states and the District, the outbreak is forcing agencies to assess who on their staffs is set up to telework, who must stay on the job to serve the public and how to ensure their safety while keeping essential services going.
Expanding telework already is bringing complications, among them administrative and equipment hurdles and restrictions for thousands of employees who work with classified material and can't bring it home.
Anxious employees are waiting for instructions that have so far been uneven. The Pentagon says it's moving quickly to ask employees who can to sign new telework agreements. The Internal Revenue Service, at the height of tax season, is not. Officials are expecting large numbers of absences in either case.
''This is uncharted territory,'' said Paul Carlson, director of the Seattle Federal Executive Board, an association of senior officials that last week recommended telework for the area's 22,000 employees.
Federal personnel director Dale Cabaniss described a ''rapidly evolving situation'' as she provided more detailed guidance over the weekend to address workplace rules, including a question that until now was unheard of: What happens if the kids are home because school is canceled '-- but telework policy doesn't allow their parents to work with them in the house?
(The answer: Agencies might be flexible in an emergency like this, but employees will have to keep close track of their work hours).
When should I call in sick? A Q&A for federal employees about the coronavirus.
OPM cannot force an office to shift its staff to remote work. ''Each agency is responsible for determining how and when to employ telework when considering the unique needs of its mission and employees,'' spokesman Anthony Marucci said in an email.
But President Trump has expansive authority to close an agency, whether he declares a national emergency or not. Just 15 percent of the workforce works in the District region, and every state has a federal presence.
Officials are not publicly releasing details of their emergency plans as they try to balance transparency with alarmism. Some unions that represent federal employees, though, say they've had little communication from managers.
''We're hearing crickets,'' said James Muhammad-Mason, a debt specialist at the Social Security Administration in Chicago, where several of the state's coronavirus cases have been diagnosed. ''People are concerned. I have a colleague taking care of an ill parent. I have kids. What if we get the virus and give it to them?''
Social Security's top managers are at odds with many of its 60,000 employees across the country after canceling a six-year-old telework pilot program for 12,000 operations employees in November '-- then slashing it in multiple of other departments last month.
Vague public statements
In Seattle, Carlson says he's fielding calls from managers whose staffs must report to the office, from weather forecasters to Secret Service agents. They're part of the massive workforce with public-facing or high-security jobs '-- IRS call-center employees, passport processors, food-safety inspectors, shipbuilders, wildland firefighters, nurses caring for veterans, postal workers. They directly serve the public, every day.
So far their agencies have issued only vague public statements about their welfare.
''We are working closely with the [Centers for Disease Control] and monitoring the situation, and we remain prepared to deal with contingencies under our continuity of government plans,'' Mark Hinkle, a Social Security spokesman, said.
Other departments have canceled nonessential travel and meetings. Cleaning crews are disinfecting bathrooms and other public services more frequently than usual.
On Monday, the IRS played down concerns over disruptions to tax season. ''Normal IRS operations are continuing, and we are seeing a strong, smooth filing season for the nation,'' the agency said in a statement.
As remote work rises at U.S. companies, Trump is calling federal employees back to the office
Documents known as continuity of operations plans have guided federal emergency planners since the Cold War, when President Dwight Eisenhower issued the first measures to ensure the government could continue to function after a nuclear attack.
After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, new blueprints evolved to protect the homeland from another terrorist attack, and eventually from flu pandemics.
They lay out how agencies would operate essential services with skeletal staffs and alternative work sites where agency leaders would go.
About 12 years ago, with broadband technology in most homes, telework became a key feature of the plans. But they have yet to be activated on a wide scale. The closest call was during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, a novel influenza virus known as the swine flu. The government ramped up for a robust response, but no federal offices were affected.
''We were racing the clock,'' recalled W. Craig Fugate, who ran the disaster relief agency for eight years during the Obama administration, ''but we never got to the point of closing anything in government down.''
The Trump administration, concerned that remote work was being abused, has pushed to strictly limit it. ''A lot of people look at telework and think, it's just some nice-to-have thing for employees,'' said Jeffrey Neal, a former Homeland Security personnel chief who writes a blog on federal personnel policies.
''What they don't talk about much is the emergency planning aspect of it,'' Neal said. ''It's not like you can pull the trigger now and say, 'Poof! We have a telework program.''
Not so simple
About 43 percent of federal employees were eligible to work from home in fiscal 2017, the last year for which data is available. The number has declined since then, but it's unclear by how much.
With coronavirus planning, managers are realizing that shifting gears is not as simple as telling someone to power up their computer at home. Not everyone has broadband access at home '-- or a government-issued laptop that's generally required to telework. Employees need access to agency networks. Some of their work contains sensitive material that can't be exposed in a home setting.
''Agencies will have a hard time retrofitting what they've been scaling down, and now they're in the middle of a World Health Organization-designated pandemic,'' said David Cann, director of field services and education at the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union representing federal workers.
Some D.C.-area House Democrats are so furious about the cuts that last week they introduced legislation to force the administration to reinstate telework where it has been curtailed.
Agencies have said little publicly about their workforce plans. The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that it had closed its Seattle field office for two weeks after an employee tested positive for coronavirus. But the agency declined to say how many employees were affected or could work remotely.
Then on Monday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told employees in an email that it was reopening a week early after professionally cleaning the office.
At Housing and Urban Development, some employees are resisting signing agreements because they don't want to be required to work if colleagues who can't telework get paid to stay home anyway, according to Ashaki Robinson Johns, president of AFGE Local 476, which represents HUD employees around Washington.
A senior HUD official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the coronavirus preparations, acknowledged that employees cannot be forced to sign a telework agreement.
About 2,300 scientists and other staff at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., have been on mandatory telework since Friday, a directive that followed a nationwide work-from-home test run for all employees.
Anyone who didn't happen to bring their laptop home over the weekend was unable access their work, though.
As the virus spread in Seattle, employees at the EPA's field office asked their managers last week to work from home full time until the infections abate but were told no: They could telework only once a week.
Kate Spaulding, an enforcement compliance officer, said she was told she would need a note from her doctor stating that she was a ''vulnerable person'' by the Centers for Disease Control's definition.
''As a federal employee, I am being blocked from putting into place strategies that have been strongly suggested by my local government and health advisors,'' she wrote in an email last week.
The office finally was cleared to telework last Friday ''until further notice.''
Sarah Kaplan and Missy Ryan contributed to this report.
CDPHE confirms 6 additional new presumptive positive cases in Colorado | Department of Public Health and Environment
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:26
COVID-19 MEDIA LINE: 303-900-2849 (Please leave a message)
DENVER, March 11, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) confirmed six new presumptive positive cases in Pitkin County, based on test results received this afternoon. That brings the total number of presumptive positive cases to 33, with one indeterminate case that public health is treating as a presumptive positive. The state lab has completed test results on approximately 300 people in Colorado since testing started on February 28.
All six individuals are part of a social circle of people who had contact with a woman who was visiting Aspen and returned home to Australia, where she tested positive for COVID-19 last week. All six of these new cases are Australians visiting Pitkin County.
State officials will share more information at a press conference at 5 p.m. today at the Governor's Office.
Case 1:
Gender: Female
Age: 60's
County: Pitkin
Exposure: Contact with infected individual
Case 2:
Gender: Male
Age: 60s
County: Pitkin
Exposure: Contact with infected individual
Case 3:
Gender: Male
Age: 60s
County: Pitkin
Exposure: Contact with infected individual
Case 4:
Gender: Male
Age: 60s
County: Pitkin
Exposure: Contact with infected individual
Case 5:
Gender: Male
Age: 70s
County: Pitkin
Exposure: Contact with infected individual
Case 6:
Gender: Male
Age: 60s
County: Pitkin
Exposure: Contact with infected individual
To ensure expedience on reporting presumptive positive cases, the state will provide overall testing statistics as soon as we are able on the website .
Continue to stay up to date by visiting .
UAW-corporate corruption scandal spreads to Ford and GM - World Socialist Web Site
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:14
UAW-corporate corruption scandal spreads to Ford and GM 4 November 2017The United Auto Workers (UAW) in the United States is the subject of an expanding scandal that has cast a light on its corrupt and incestuous relationship with the Big Three auto companies.
In late July, a federal indictment was unsealed detailing charges against top UAW officials and a corporate executive at Fiat Chrysler (FCA). On Tuesday, the Detroit News reported that the FBI is adding Ford and General Motors to its investigations into a network of bribes funneled through training centers jointly operated by the UAW and the auto companies.
The indictments involving FCA revealed that leading UAW executives received over $4.5 million in payouts from company officials. The money was allegedly transmitted through the joint training center and laundered through several charities, children's centers and hospice programs. Union officials lavishly spent money officially earmarked for worker training on themselves and their relatives, purchasing furniture, jewelry, designer clothing, international vacations and other luxury items.
Those charged so far include Monica Morgan, the wife of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield, who would be indicted but for his death in 2015; former UAW negotiator Virdell King; Chrysler lead negotiator Al Iacobelli; and Chrysler financial analyst Jerome Durden. Durden and King have both pleaded guilty to corruption charges as part of a deal with prosecutors. UAW Vice President for Chrysler Norwood Jewell is also involved, though he has not been charged, as he allegedly received gifts purchased with money stolen by other officials.
According to a report in the Detroit News, the investigation is now expanding to other top UAW executives, including UAW Vice President for GM Cindy Estrada, who oversaw the UAW-GM training center, and her predecessor, Joe Ashton.
Though not named as prominently as Estrada in the Detroit News report, UAW Vice President for Ford Jimmy Settles oversees the UAW-Ford training center and is also likely under suspicion. All these officials oversee their own charities with funds worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
The revelations that top officials at the UAW received direct handouts from company executives can come as no surprise to anyone following the operations of the UAW. For decades, the UAW and the other organizations that call themselves ''trade unions'' have functioned as instruments of corporate management. They are not ''workers organizations,'' but cheap-labor contractors and an industrial police force that work to suppress any opposition from the workers they claim to represent.
In the case of the UAW, the relationship is particularly naked. While the UAW was forged in the bitter and insurrectionary battles led by socialist-minded workers in the 1930s, it came to be dominated by a pro-capitalist and nationalist bureaucracy. In the 1980s, the UAW and the AFL-CIO trade union apparatus responded to the decline of American capitalism and the social counterrevolution launched by the ruling class by integrating itself more closely with corporate management, forcing through concessions contract after concessions contract. The ''training centers'' involved in the corruption scandal were set up then, serving as slush funds for union executives.
In recent years, the UAW, led by executives involved in the corruption scandal, has resorted to outright fraud to force through measures demanded by the companies.
The 2015 contract in particular was rammed through in the face of a groundswell of opposition from auto workers, including the first defeat of a national contract backed by the UAW since 1982 (at Fiat Chrysler). The contract that was pushed through at FCA and then GM and Ford built on measures in earlier contracts, including a multi-tier wage system, poverty-level wages, the expanded use of temporary labor and cuts in health care and retirement programs.
That these contracts were implemented through bribery and kickbacks makes them legally inoperative. It also lends further support to widespread allegations that the UAW stuffed ballots to pass the contract at Ford in the final vote in 2015.
The World Socialist Web Site played the central role in mobilizing and organizing opposition to the 2015 contracts. It warned at the time that ''the biggest obstacle to unifying the working class is the United Auto Workers and the other unions.'' We noted that ''top union executives receive hundreds of thousands of dollars, padding the salaries and expense accounts derived from dues and cash diverted from the strike fund with compensation from their positions on corporate boards, joint labor-management operations and the UAW's retiree health care trust.''
In response to the opposition of workers, the UAW hired public relations firm BerlinRosen to improve its image and stop workers from using social media. UAW President Dennis Williams denounced ''outside groups'' that ''like to stir people up'' for helping defeat the FCA deal.
AFL-CIO Metro Detroit lead counsel Bruce Miller called the WSWS ''vultures on the left dressed in red garb who preach their love for the workers while they advocate on behalf of the enemies of working people.'' No word from Miller as to whether the corruption charges change his evaluation of who advocates ''on behalf of the enemies of working people...''
Given the current campaign led by the Democratic Party and US intelligence agencies to use allegations of Russian efforts to ''sow divisions'' in the US to justify a regime of Internet censorship, it should be recalled that it was the UAW that first began employing the term ''fake news'' to attack the WSWS and autoworkers for using social media to share information and coordinate opposition to the 2015 contract.
The outcome of this operation can be seen in the conditions faced by auto workers. Last month, a 21-year-old Ford Woodhaven Stamping temporary worker named Jacoby Hennings died in an apparent suicide after being disciplined for tardiness by the company. A police report acquired by the World Socialist Web Site shows that Hennings died after seeking help from the UAW. Hennings' desperation is an acute expression of a near universal phenomenon among autoworkers and the entire working class, which faces precarious and temporary work, uncertain hours, low wages, and a complete absence of rights or real grievance procedures on the shop floor.
The companies, the unions and the entire political establishment fear more than anything else that workers will break from the stranglehold of the trade unions to advance their own interests. Former federal prosecutor Peter Henning told the Detroit News, ''If the companies are buying labor peace by corrupting union leadership, that has to be a significant concern. This sends a message that union leaders are just in it for themselves. This can rile up members and lead to an insurgency.''
An insurgency is precisely what is required. Under conditions of growing international tensions, deepening social inequality, mass deportations and police violence, there is no doubt that the coming period will involve the outbreak of large-scale social struggle involving millions of workers and young people. The UAW scandal is further proof that in the trade unions, workers confront not their representatives, but their most determined enemies.
Workers need new organizations to advance their interests against the massive corporations that control both political parties, the media, the courts, the police and the unions. New organizations'--workplace and neighborhood committees'--will be based on the principle of the class struggle and will seek to draw together different strata and sections of the working class to harness their strength in a common fight against the capitalist system.
Eric London
Contribute to the fight for socialism in 20202019 has been a year of mass social upheaval. We need you to help the WSWS and ICFI make 2020 the year of international socialist revival. We must expand our work and our influence in the international working class. If you agree, donate today. Thank you.
Cluster of coronavirus cases is tied to US biotech meetin
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:12
Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 @ 4:02 PMUpdated: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 @ 4:01 PM By: PHILIP MARCELO,MATT O'BRIEN-Associated Press
BOSTON '-- A biotech meeting at a hotel in downtown Boston appears to be the source of a cluster of the coronavirus in the U.S. '-- and a warning for employers who are still holding big gatherings as the outbreak spreads.
Seventy-seven of the 95 confirmed cases in Massachusetts have been linked to a meeting of executives with Biogen, a company based in Cambridge, next to Boston, that develops therapies for neurological diseases, state officials said.
An additional 12 people who have tested positive for the virus outside Massachusetts have been linked to the Feb. 26-27 meeting, including five in North Carolina, two in Indiana, and one each in New Jersey, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., officials said. Two tested positive in Europe, Biogen spokesman David Caouette said Wednesday.
The Biogen cluster underscores the danger in continuing to host business gatherings as the virus, which has sickened tens of thousands of people since emerging in China in December, spreads, said Marc Lipsitch, a Harvard University infectious disease epidemiologist.
''We need to stop having meetings like that,'' he said, noting a smaller cluster had been linked to a business conference at the Grand Hyatt in Singapore in January. ''I think a lot of companies have concluded that on their own.''
The Boston conference gathered roughly 175 company executives for two days of meetings at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel, a striking brick landmark on the city's scenic harborfront.
State health officials say the company notified them of the potential outbreak March 3 and that by March 6 they had publicly confirmed the cases as the type of coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.
The disease usually exhibits mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, but it can be worse in older adults and people with other health problems.
State and city health officials said Wednesday they are working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify close contacts of the people with confirmed cases in order to monitor them.
But they declined to say whether any of those sickened from the conference have been hospitalized, or how many of those quarantined in Massachusetts are linked to the meeting.
Local officials also declined to say whether they were taking additional steps, such as additional sanitizing or visitor restrictions at nearby landmarks, which include a ferry wharf, the New England Aquarium, and historic Faneuil Hall and its shopping and dining complex.
Several Biogen workers are ''doing well,'' CEO Michel Vounatsos told employees Monday, while others are "fighting this novel virus and living in isolation from their families.''
''Knowing they are in pain, hurts each of us,'' he wrote. ''I am grateful for the courage our team has shown in this challenging time, working late into the night and in constant communication with public health partners.''
The company, which has about 7,500 employees globally, said Friday it has asked employees who attended the meeting to quarantine themselves. It has also directed office-based workers in Massachusetts; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and Baar, Switzerland, to work from home, though manufacturing activities are continuing, Caouette said.
Most people recover. People with mild illness do so in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover, according to the World Health Organization, which on Wednesday declared the worldwide outbreak a pandemic.
Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said this week that officials are still testing people potentially linked to the Biogen cluster and that there could be more who show symptoms.
Several Biogen employees who tested positive attended at least one other conference downtown, but there have so far been no cases reported among those participants, Daniel Gagnier, a spokesman for Cowen, the New York-based investment bank that hosted the event, said Wednesday.
The Cowen event took place March 2-4 at the Marriott Copley Place, a hotel in a mall complex near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which takes place in April. Officials have said they so far still intend to host the race.
A Marriott spokeswoman said Wednesday that the company is working closely with health officials.
Massachusetts has one of the nation's largest clusters of the virus after Washington state, California and New York.
In addition to the 95 cases in Massachusetts, nearly 450 people are currently in quarantine and more than 600 have completed the monitoring period symptom-free, officials said.
This story has been corrected to show that the spelling of the investment bank that hosted the event is Cowen, not Cowan.
O'Brien reported from Providence, Rhode Island. Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report.
The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Pelosi ignores Trump taunts as she steers through another crisis - POLITICO
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:04
The face of the U.S. response '-- of course '-- is Trump. And he announced plans for some executive action to help the public in a Wednesday night address, including on paid sick leave. But he's also taken a sometimes-erratic approach to the outbreak, often undermining his own administration's recommendations and repeating falsehoods about the coronavirus being ''very much under control'' in the country.
Pelosi and other Democrats helped push through $8.3 billion in emergency funding last week '-- more than triple what the White House originally sought '-- and are likely to pass stimulus legislation later Thursday. The episode plays to her strengths as the longtime Democratic leader: Figure out your goals, move quickly, and build your support on the fly, while always keeping your eye on the magic 218-vote number.
The sheer variety of national emergencies Pelosi has faced during her 17 years as House Democratic leader is stunning, and represents the turbulent nature of 21st century American life '-- Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 financial crisis, the federal government shutdowns of 2013 and 2018-19, and Trump's recent impeachment, are among the highlights.
Pelosi herself ticked off many of those crises when talking to reporters on Tuesday, saying that is what helps guide her and her leadership team, even in this time of great uncertainty: ''We have experience with this,'' Pelosi said.
''I've gone through a number of these crises with her as the leader and she is unflappable,'' said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). ''The last thing we need is some kind of a hot-headed leader trying to figure out what we can do to hurt the other side,'' he added. ''She don't play that game.''
Even before Mnuchin called her Tuesday, Pelosi was already moving forward with legislation to ensure Americans have access to paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, food and free coronavirus testing if they're impacted by the pandemic. And she made clear that her House would move ahead with the bill even if there wasn't buy-in from the administration.
Pelosi also has enormous political leverage during this episode. By moving quickly, Pelosi has put pressure on the White House and GOP leaders to respond. She could put a bill on the floor and see if Republicans would vote against it, something top Democrats believe will never happen.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a key Trump ally, said Tuesday his conference could end up backing the Democratic bill. McCarthy has also been talking with Mnuchin about the plan Democrats drafted.
''I think we need to do something,'' McCarthy said in an interview. ''I think the [proposals] that will be put forth are not very controversial and could be bipartisan'... This is short-term spending, but this is needed.''
Pelosi's relationship with Mnuchin has proved a critical lifeline to the White House, allowing the two to continue to negotiate even as Trump tweeted broadsides at Democrats Wednesday afternoon. Pelosi also shared bill language with Mnuchin before unveiling it to the public.
Mnuchin and Pelosi have gained a professional respect for each other that developed as the pair worked to clinch a massive budget deal last summer. The speaker essentially locked out Trump's other appointed negotiators, including then-acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, saying he had ''no credibility'' on the issue, and worked solely with Mnuchin to get the deal done.
The speaker has also slightly changed her posture toward her own caucus as the crisis worsens, according to several Democrats present for leadership and caucus meetings.
Democrats said Pelosi has been very direct in private meetings, immediately shutting down ideas she doesn't think are viable, including suggestions that lawmakers be allowed to vote remotely or an idea raised Wednesday to mail Americans a check instead of temporarily expanding some federal safety nets.
Pelosi has also worked closely with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) '-- as she did with his predecessor, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada '-- on this effort. The two Democratic leaders have insisted that any federal response be targeted at those most directly impacted by the crisis, not used as a grab bag to advance other political agendas, such as corporate tax cuts. Pelosi and Schumer have dismissed a Trump-backed proposal to cut the federal payroll tax, instead pushing paid sick leave and other efforts to strengthen the social safety net.
Pelosi's allies say time is of the essence '-- the crisis continues to evolve as the virus spreads across the country. And the response needed from Washington could change from one day to the next. In short, there isn't time for dilly dallying.
''She is the captain of the ship and she is leading it,'' said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.). Dingell was referencing Pelosi, who on Tuesday tried to calm anxious Democrats by telling them they are the ''captains of the ship'' and ''the last to leave.''
Pelosi has also resisted calls from some members '-- a minority at this point, but it's growing '-- to close the Capitol. While public tours will be prohibited for the rest of March, Pelosi and other party leaders have argued that Congress should be open as long as the federal government is open.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), a close ally, said she agreed with Pelosi's call.
''I can't help but think of Lincoln during the Civil War,'' Eshoo said. ''The workmen reported to the president that the [iron] that was being used to build the Capitol was needed for armaments. He said, 'We are not going to stop building the Capitol. That is a demonstration of the confidence we have.' I think that's an expression of her confidence.''
Chelsea Manning attempts suicide in jail
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 06:45
The former military intelligence analyst has been in jail since May 2019 for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. She was scheduled to appear in court in Alexandria, Virginia, this week.
Chelsea Manning's legal team said Wednesday she was recuperating under medical care after a failed suicide attempt.
Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne said: "There was an incident at approximately 12:11 p.m. today at the Alexandria Adult Detention Center involving inmate Chelsea Manning. It was handled appropriately by our professional staff and Ms. Manning is safe."
She was subsequently taken to a hospital and is now recovering.
Read more: Assange lawyer: Trump 'offered pardon' in exchange for denying Russia role in email leak
The former US military intelligence analyst has been behind bars since May 2019 for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating whistleblower platform WikiLeaks. Manning is still scheduled to appear in court on Friday in Alexandria, Virginia, where a judge is set to decide whether sanctions against her for that defiance will be upheld.
Andy Stepanian, a spokesman for Manning's legal team, said in a statement Wednesday that Manning "remains unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse."
Read more: Opinion: I am Julian Assange
Assange and Manning accused of conspiring against the US
The US government has accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of colluding with Manning to leak classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including State Department cables and military videos.
Manning was initially sent to prison in 2010 before being court-martialed and convicted of espionage in 2013, and given a 35-year prison term.
She was released in 2017 when then-President Barack Obama commuted her sentence. However, Manning was remanded in custody once again in 2019 for not providing testimony.
If you are suffering from emotional strain or suicidal thoughts, seek professional help. You can find information on where to find help, no matter where you live in the world, at this website:
jsi/sms (AFP, AP, dpa)
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Cristiano Ronaldo QUARANTINED in Portugal after Juventus teammate Rugani tests positive for coronavirus '-- RT Sport News
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 06:41
Cristiano Ronaldo will remain in his native Portugal indefinitely as he undergoes self-isolation after his Juventus teammate Daniele Rugani was confirmed as having tested positive for coronavirus.
Portuguese star Ronaldo visited his mother off the coast of mainland Portugal after she had suffered as stroke but will remain in the region rather than return to Italy, where there is a country-wide lock down as attempts are made to mitigate the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Also on Juventus player & Ronaldo teammate Daniele Rugani tests positive for coronavirus He will remain in quarantine after teammate Rugani tested positive for Covid-19. The two players shared a dressing room last weekend after Juventus beat Inter Milan 2-0 inside of an empty Allianz Stadium in Turin.
A picture posted to social media by Juve midfielder Miralem Pjanic shows the Juventus players, including both Rugani and Ronaldo, celebrating in close quarters following the game.
Juventus say that they have activated "all the isolation procedures required by law" for those who may have come in contact with Rugani. It was reported by Reuters that the entire Juventus squad will spend two weeks in quarantine.
"You will have read the news and that's why I want to reassure all those who are worrying about me, I'm fine," Rugani wrote on social media.
"I urge everyone to respect the rules, because this virus makes no distinctions! Let's do it for ourselves, for our loved ones and for those around us."
The team are due to face Lyon in the Champions League next Tuesday in a game which is heavily expected to be postponed by UEFA.
Also on When karma strikes back? NBA suspends season after Utah Jazz player who MOCKED coronavirus fears tests positive (VIDEO) Italy is by far the worst affected country in Europe by the coronavirus, with more than 12,000 confirmed cases and 827 deaths, by Thursday afternoon.
Italian football officials have postponed the current Serie A season and have stated that they may not be able to reschedule the current calendar of games. Options at that juncture would be to declare the table final as it is now, hold playoffs to determine final standings or simply not declare a champion for the 2019/20 season.
Coronavirus: aggressive 'L type' strain affecting 70 per cent of cases - BBC Science Focus Magazine
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:52
Researchers in China have identified two strains of coronavirus in humans.Frequency of more aggressive 'L type' strain decreasing, which researchers attribute to human intervention.There is ''no sign'' that discovery will affect vaccination strategies.Scientists in China claim to have identified two main strains of the coronavirus that is circulating in humans, indicating that the virus is mutating.
Researchers at Peking University's School of Life Sciences and the Institute Pasteur of Shanghai say the COVID-19 virus, which has since been renamed SARS-CoV2, has evolved into two major lineages, known as ''L'' and ''S'' types.
The newer and more aggressive L type strain accounted for about 70 per cent of the analysed cases, the researchers said, while the rest were linked to the older S type version.
An illustration of the coronavirus, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (C) Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
The L type strain was found to be prevalent in the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan, the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected late last year.
But its frequency decreased from early January, which the researchers attributed to human intervention.
The S type strain, meanwhile, is continuing to infect new patients, which experts believe could be because it is less severe, meaning people carry it for longer before going to the hospital, increasing the risk of it passing it on.
Read more about viruses:
How do scientists develop vaccines for new viruses?How do viruses jump from animals to humans?How do viruses make us ill?Writing in the journal National Science Review, the researchers said: ''These findings strongly support an urgent need for further immediate, comprehensive studies that combine genomic data, epidemiological data, and chart records of the clinical symptoms of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).''
But experts not directly involved in the study said that while the findings were interesting, it is too early to draw conclusions from the preliminary research.
Commenting on the research, Dr Michael Skinner, reader in virology at the Imperial College London, said it was too early to speculate on any practical consequences based on what he called an ''interesting observation''.
He added: ''At the moment there's no sign that it will affect vaccination strategies, as (unless I'm mistaken) the mutations don't seem to have affected the sequence of the S1 spike protein which is the antigen most people are targeting for vaccine production.''
Reader Q&A: How long can a virus live outside a body?Asked by: Chaudhary Nikul, India
Viruses can live for a surprisingly long time outside of a body, depending on conditions such as moisture and temperature. They tend to live longer on water-resistant surfaces, such as stainless steel and plastics.
A cold virus can sometimes survive on indoor surfaces for several days, although its ability to cause infection drops dramatically over time.
Flu viruses can survive in the air for several hours, especially at lower temperatures, and on hard surfaces they can survive and remain infectious for 24 hours.
Enteric viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A, can survive for weeks on a surface if conditions are suitable. The norovirus is known for causing sickness outbreaks in schools, cruise ships and hospitals.
Read more:
Can a bacterium be infected by a virus?Are there any viruses that are beneficial to the human race?Authors Alexander is the Online Editor at BBC Science Focus and is the one that keeps looking shipshape and Bristol fashion. He has been toying around with news, technology and science on internet for well over a decade, and sports a very fetching beard.
Tests indicate coronavirus can survive in the air | TheHill
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:34
March 11, 2020 - 04:38 PM EDT By John BowdenFederally funded tests conducted by scientists from several major institutions indicated that the novel form of coronavirus behind a worldwide outbreak can survive in the air for several hours.
A study awaiting peer review from scientists at Princeton University, the University of California-Los Angeles and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) posted online Wednesday indicated that the COVID-19 virus could remain viable in the air "up to 3 hours post aerosolization," while remaining alive on plastic and other surfaces for up to three days.
"Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 is plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for 42 multiple hours and on surfaces up to days," reads the study's abstract.
The test results suggest that humans could be infected by the disease simply carried through the air or on a solid surface, even if direct contact with an infected person does not occur. That finding, if accepted, would come in stark contrast to previous media reports that suggested the virus was not easily transmittable outside of direct human contact.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus infection have crossed 121,000 worldwide, with more than 4,300 deaths. The majority of deaths have occurred in mainland China, where the virus is thought to have originated, and Italy, which is experiencing its own large-scale outbreak.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday, with officials warning that they were "deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction" by world governments to prevent the disease from spreading.
How Dutch false sense of security helped coronavirus spread
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:32
The position of Dutch authorities was that only people with symptoms could transmit coronavirus. It was repeated by the government, national and local health authorities, justifying a cascade of decisions that allowed the Netherlands to keep up a ''business as usual'' attitude even as the virus exponentially spread.
The problem was, it was wrong. As early as February 21st, Chinese doctors published a case of apparent asymptomatic transmission; German doctors wrote to the New England Journal of Medicine on March 5th to warn of a case near Munich. The World Health Organisation advises transmission without symptoms is possible.
Despite this the Dutch government and health authorities stuck to looser quarantine advice than other European countries up to the time of publishing, telling people who had travelled from China, outbreak spots in Italy, and Iran, that they need only self-quarantine if experiencing symptoms.
As well as being underpinned by a flawed assumption, the advice relies on people knowing whether they have symptoms or not. This is questionable: Chris Higgins, a GP in Australia, provoked an outcry after treating 70 patients while he had what he thought was the tail end of a mild cold, before he tested positive for Covid-19.
It's also in stark contrast to the approach in the countries most successful at containing the virus, such as Taiwan and Singapore, where authorities drew on their experience of the Sars outbreak to implement strict travel checks and preventative quarantine before even registering a first confirmed case.
Individual freedomsThe case of the Netherlands shows how a flawed belief about transmission filtered down throughout society, enabling the virus to spread. It also makes for a grand experiment in what happens when a country takes a relaxed approach to the virus, placing the maintenance of normality, personal responsibility and individual freedoms first.
The first coronavirus diagnosis in the Netherlands was on February 27th. As authorities traced his contacts, they found he had attended Carnival in the city of Tilburg in the North Brabant region on February 21st-25th. ''The patient was not contagious in the days he celebrated the carnival,'' the mayor of Tilburg Theo Weterings told media.
In the following days, two more people who were at Tilburg carnival were diagnosed with coronavirus. One of them was a worker at Bannink Packaging in Drenthe in the northern Netherlands. His partner was also infected.
World View on coronavirus
Bannink Packaging continued to operate as normal, saying the employee was not sick when he came to work. ''The chance that he has infected colleagues is therefore rather small,'' the spokesperson told media.
On March 4th, another Bannink Packaging employee '' who commuted from Germany '' was diagnosed with coronavirus.
''In Germany they are a lot stricter with testing . . . We should not exaggerate. Production continues as normal. In that respect, it is business as usual,'' a company representative told media. ''We advise our employees to stay at home if they have symptoms. We cannot do more.''
''What if someone decides to go to work or take an exam? This is their own responsibility'' On March 5th a third employee was diagnosed as positive.
On March 7th four more people tested positive in Coevorden, where Bannink Packaging is based.
That day 900 students of the university society Vindicat returned from a mass ski trip in Piedmont in northern Italy in a convoy of buses to the Netherlands. Amid public concern, authorities met the students and tested four, who were found negative.
An empty classroom in a primary school in Son en Breugel in southern Netherlands as pupils had their classes suspended. Photograph: Rob Engelaar/ANP/AFP via Getty''Someone who has no symptoms is not contagious,'' Jossy van den Boogaard, MD in infectious disease control at local health authority GGD Groningen told media.
''Can the students also infect others while they have no symptoms? No,'' was the official advice. ''What if someone decides to go to work or take an exam? This is their own responsibility.''
No panicOn March 8th it was announced that a cleaning lady married to a Bannink Packaging employee had tested positive. The director of the school she works at wrote to parents to say there was no reason to panic, and that children could go to school as normal.
By this point the outbreak in the carnival region of North Brabant had reached the point that there were shortages of protective equipment for health workers, and people were advised not to call their doctor unless their symptoms were serious.
Lawmaker Eva van Esch told parliament a friend of hers had tested positive who had been refused a test for a week after returning from Italy with symptoms. Once positive, the friend had been asked to keep the diagnosis quiet and not to tell her work or contacts, van Esch said.
Twelve days after the first diagnosis, confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Netherlands had risen from 1 to 382 ''My party therefore wonders whether this government is actually focusing on preventing the spread of the disease, or whether the health services are primarily concerned with preventing panic,'' van Esch said.
Dutch testing capacity is limited, forcing authorities to prioritise testing people with a clear link. Roughly 6,000 tests had been done in the Netherlands as of March 7th, national public health institute the RIVM said, a figure that includes double-testing to exclude false positives, and testing for recovery.
Twelve days after the first diagnosis, confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Netherlands had risen from 1 to 382.
Naomi O'Leary discusses the Dutch approach to the coronavirus crisis on the World View podcast here
First confirmed patient in R.I. talks about surviving coronavirus - News - - Providence, RI
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:27
In this March 6, 2020, photo, Saint Raphael Academy stands in the background in Pawtucket, R.I., as the school remains closed following a confirmed case of the coronavirus. As a growing number of schools across the United States close their doors because of the coronavirus, officials are weighing whether to shut down entirely or move classes online, which could leave behind the many students who don't have computers, home internet access or parents with flexible work schedules. (AP Photo/David Goldman)'–²
PROVIDENCE '-- Rhode Island's first confirmed coronavirus patient, the vice principal of student life at Saint Raphael Academy who led a field trip to Europe, spoke to The Wall Street Journal from the ICU at Miriam Hospital.
Marc Thibault, 48, who became one of the first patients diagnosed in the United States, said he used hand sanitizer frequently during the Feb. 14-22 trip, but in Italy, he shared a microphone with a tour guide who said he was coming down with the flu.
He told the Wall Street Journal that he has asthma but exercises every day and rarely gets sick.
He felt sluggish on the flight home. He stayed home from work but went to a walk-in clinic when he felt worse, then a few days later to a hospital. Doctors at both places decided his symptoms did not qualify him for the coronavirus test, but the hospital contacted the R.I. Department of Health, which told him to get tested immediately.
He was tested at Miriam Hospital and admitted on Feb. 27.
Then, he said, the illness hit him "like a hurricane."
He struggled to breathe. His lungs filled with fluid, and nurses in hazmat-style suits had to drain them every two hours.
The worst part, he said, was the feeling of choking. "You feel like you're asphyxiating, and you're panicking because you can't breathe."
He kept telling himself, "Just get through the next hour, the next hour, the next hour."
At one point, he was aware that a priest in protective gear was about to administer last rites. He wrote a note to his wife saying that if his lungs collapsed, he did not want to be put on life support.
"I was one inch from death," he told the WSJ on Tuesday.
"It's alarming when I hear people minimize it as a simple cold," he said. "It almost killed me."
(401) 277-7411
On Twitter: @donita22
List of Academy Awards ceremonies - Wikipedia
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:13
This is a list of Academy Awards ceremonies.[1][2][3]
This list is current as of the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony held on February 9, 2020.
Venues Edit 1929: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel1930''1943: Alternated between the Ambassador Hotel and the Biltmore Hotel1944''1946: Grauman's Chinese Theatre1947''1948: Shrine Auditorium1949: Academy Award Theater1950''1960: Pantages Theatre1961''1968: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium1969''1987: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion1988''2001: Alternated between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Shrine Auditorium2002''present: Dolby Theatre (also known as Kodak Theatre, 2002-2011; Hollywood and Highland Centre, 2012)Networks Edit U.S. networkYears# of yearsNBC1953''19608ABC1961''197010NBC1971''19755ABC1976''present45Ceremonies Edit Beginning with the 7th Academy Awards, held in February 1935, each year's awards are presented for films that were first shown during the full preceding calendar year from January 1 to December 31 in Los Angeles County, California. For the first five ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned twelve months from August 1 to July 31.[4] For the 6th ceremony, held in 1934, the eligibility period lasted from August 1, 1932 to December 31, 1933.[4]
When citing each ceremony, Academy conventions may either list the year(s) of its eligibility period,[5] or the year in which the ceremony was actually held.[6]
#DateBest PictureNumber of viewersRatingHost(s)VenueBroadcastpartner(s)1stMay 16, 1929Wings'--'--Douglas FairbanksWilliam C. deMilleHollywood Roosevelt Hotelnone2ndApril 3, 1930The Broadway Melody '--'--William C. deMilleAmbassador HotelKNX-AM[a][7]3rdNovember 5, 1930All Quiet on the Western Front '--'--Conrad NagelKNX-AM[a]4thNovember 10, 1931Cimarron'--'--Lawrence GrantBiltmore HotelKHJ-AM[b]5thNovember 18, 1932Grand Hotel'--'--Lionel BarrymoreConrad NagelAmbassador HotelKECA-AM[c]6thMarch 16, 1934Cavalcade'--'--Will Rogersnone7thFebruary 27, 1935It Happened One Night'--'--Irvin S. CobbBiltmore Hotel8thMarch 5, 1936Mutiny on the Bounty'--'--Frank Capra9thMarch 4, 1937The Great Ziegfeld'--'--George Jessel10thMarch 10, 1938The Life of Emile Zola'--'--Bob Burns11thFebruary 23, 1939 You Can't Take It With You '--'--noneKHJ-AM[d]12thFebruary 29, 1940Gone with the Wind'--'--Bob HopeAmbassador Hotel(Cocoanut Grove)KNX-AM[e]13thFebruary 27, 1941Rebecca'--'--Biltmore Hotel(Biltmore Bowl)KECA-AM[f]14thFebruary 26, 1942How Green Was My Valley'--'--KNX-AM[f]15thMarch 4, 1943Mrs. Miniver'--'--Ambassador Hotel(Cocoanut Grove)KNX-AM[g]16thMarch 2, 1944Casablanca'--'--Jack BennyGrauman's Chinese TheaterKNX-AM[h]17thMarch 15, 1945Going My Way'--'--Bob HopeJohn CromwellABC Radio[i]18thMarch 7, 1946The Lost Weekend'--'--Bob HopeJames StewartGrauman's Chinese Theater19thMarch 13, 1947The Best Years of Our Lives'--'--Jack BennyShrine Auditorium20thMarch 20, 1948Gentleman's Agreement'--'--Agnes MooreheadDick Powell21stMarch 24, 1949Hamlet'--'--Robert MontgomeryThe Academy Theater 22nd March 23, 1950All the King's Men'--'--Paul DouglasPantages Theatre23rdMarch 29, 1951All About Eve'--'--Fred Astaire24thMarch 20, 1952An American in Paris'--'--Danny Kaye25thMarch 19, 1953The Greatest Show on Earth40 million'--Bob HopeConrad NagelPantages Theatre/NBC International TheatreNBC RadioNBC26thMarch 25, 1954From Here to Eternity43 million'--Donald O'ConnorFredric MarchPantages Theatre/NBC Century Theatre27thMarch 30, 1955On the Waterfront'--'--Bob HopeThelma Ritter28thMarch 21, 1956Marty'--'--Jerry LewisClaudette ColbertJoseph L. Mankiewicz
29thMarch 27, 1957Around the World in 80 Days '--'--Jerry LewisCeleste Holm30thMarch 26, 1958The Bridge on the River Kwai'--'--Bob HopeDavid NivenJames StewartJack LemmonRosalind RussellDonald Duck[8]
Pantages Theatre31stApril 6, 1959Gigi'--'--Bob HopeDavid NivenTony RandallMort SahlLaurence OlivierJerry Lewis
32ndApril 4, 1960Ben-Hur'--'--Bob Hope33rdApril 17, 1961The Apartment'--'--Santa Monica Civic AuditoriumABC Radio [j]ABC34thApril 9, 1962West Side Story'--'--35thApril 8, 1963Lawrence of Arabia'--'--Frank Sinatra36thApril 13, 1964Tom Jones'--'--Jack Lemmon37thApril 5, 1965My Fair Lady'--'--Bob Hope38thApril 18, 1966The Sound of Music'--'--39thApril 10, 1967A Man for All Seasons'--'--40thApril 10, 1968In the Heat of the Night'--'--41stApril 14, 1969Oliver!'--'--noneDorothy Chandler PavilionABC42ndApril 7, 1970Midnight Cowboy'--43.4043rdApril 15, 1971Patton'--'--NBC44thApril 10, 1972The French Connection'--'--Helen HayesAlan KingSammy Davis Jr.Jack Lemmon
45thMarch 27, 1973The Godfather'--'--Carol BurnettMichael CaineCharlton HestonRock Hudson
46thApril 2, 1974The Sting'--'--John HustonBurt ReynoldsDavid NivenDiana Ross
47thApril 8, 1975The Godfather Part II'--'--Sammy Davis Jr.Bob HopeShirley MacLaineFrank Sinatra
48thMarch 29, 1976One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest '--'--Goldie HawnGene KellyWalter MatthauGeorge SegalRobert Shaw
ABC49thMarch 28, 1977Rocky'--'--Warren BeattyEllen BurstynJane Fonda Richard Pryor
50thApril 3, 1978Annie Hall 39.73 million 31.10Bob Hope51stApril 9, 1979The Deer Hunter'--'--Johnny Carson52ndApril 14, 1980Kramer vs. Kramer'--'--53rdMarch 31, 1981Ordinary People'--'--54thMarch 29, 1982Chariots of Fire'--'--55thApril 11, 1983Gandhi'--'--Liza MinnelliDudley MooreRichard PryorWalter Matthau
56thApril 9, 1984Terms of Endearment'--38.00Johnny Carson57thMarch 25, 1985Amadeus'--'--Jack Lemmon58thMarch 24, 1986Out of Africa38.65 million25.71Alan AldaJane FondaRobin Williams
59thMarch 30, 1987Platoon39.72 million25.94Chevy ChaseGoldie HawnPaul Hogan
60thApril 11, 1988The Last Emperor42.04 million27.80Chevy ChaseShrine Auditorium61stMarch 29, 1989Rain Man42.77 million28.41none62ndMarch 26, 1990Driving Miss Daisy40.22 million26.42Billy CrystalDorothy Chandler Pavilion63rdMarch 25, 1991Dances with Wolves42.79 million28.06Shrine Auditorium64thMarch 30, 1992The Silence of the Lambs44.44 million29.84Dorothy Chandler Pavilion65thMarch 29, 1993Unforgiven45.84 million32.8566thMarch 21, 1994Schindler's List46.26 million31.86Whoopi Goldberg67thMarch 27, 1995Forrest Gump48.87 million33.47David LettermanShrine Auditorium68thMarch 25, 1996Braveheart44.81 million30.48Whoopi GoldbergDorothy Chandler Pavilion69thMarch 24, 1997The English Patient40.83 million25.83Billy CrystalShrine Auditorium70thMarch 23, 1998Titanic57.25 million35.3271stMarch 21, 1999Shakespeare in Love45.63 million28.51Whoopi GoldbergDorothy Chandler Pavilion72ndMarch 26, 2000American Beauty46.53 million29.64Billy CrystalShrine Auditorium73rdMarch 25, 2001Gladiator42.93 million25.86Steve Martin74thMarch 24, 2002A Beautiful Mind40.54 million25.13Whoopi GoldbergKodak Theatre(then name of the Dolby Theatre)75thMarch 23, 2003Chicago33.04 million20.58Steve Martin76thFebruary 29, 2004The Lord of the Rings:The Return of the King43.56 million26.68Billy Crystal77thFebruary 27, 2005Million Dollar Baby42.16 million25.29Chris Rock78thMarch 5, 2006Crash38.64 million22.91Jon Stewart79thFebruary 25, 2007The Departed39.92 million23.65Ellen DeGeneres80thFebruary 24, 2008No Country for Old Men31.76 million18.66Jon Stewart81stFebruary 22, 2009Slumdog Millionaire36.94 million20.88Hugh Jackman82ndMarch 7, 2010The Hurt Locker41.62 million24.89Steve MartinAlec Baldwin83rdFebruary 27, 2011The King's Speech37.9 million21.2James FrancoAnne Hathaway84thFebruary 26, 2012The Artist39.46 million23.91Billy CrystalHollywood and Highland Center(intermediate name of the Dolby Theatre)85thFebruary 24, 2013Argo40.38 million24.47Seth MacFarlaneDolby Theatre86thMarch 2, 201412 Years a Slave43.74 million24.7Ellen DeGeneres87thFebruary 22, 2015Birdman37.26 million20.6Neil Patrick Harris88thFebruary 28, 2016Spotlight34.43 million23.4Chris Rock89thFebruary 26, 2017Moonlight33.0 million22.4Jimmy Kimmel90thMarch 4, 2018The Shape of Water26.5 million18.991stFebruary 24, 2019Green Book29.6 million20.6none92ndFebruary 9, 2020Parasite23.6 million13.6 [9]93rdFebruary 28, 2021TBATBATBATBA94thFebruary 27, 2022TBATBATBATBAMultiple ceremonies hosted Edit The following individuals have hosted (or co-hosted) the Academy Awards ceremony on two or more occasions.
Nominated hosts Edit The following individuals have hosted (or co-hosted) the Academy Awards ceremony on the same year in which the individual was also a nominee.
Characters Edit See also Edit Academy AwardList of presenters of the Academy Award for Best PictureNotes Edit ^ a b One hour of the ceremony was broadcast live. ^ 45 minutes of the ceremony was broadcast live. Simulcast live on CBS network affiliates on the West Coast. ^ 30 minutes of the ceremony was broadcast live. Simulcast live on NBC Blue Network affiliates on the West Coast. ^ About 12 minutes of the ceremony broadcast live. Broadcast of the ceremony was shut down after 12 minutes because KHJ did not have permission to broadcast live. The radio host was whispering the names of the winners as they were announced, out of sight in the balcony. Later in the evening, at the conclusion of the ceremony, KHJ broadcast a full announcement of winners, live from the ceremony venue, as per its original agreement with the Academy. ^ Announcement of winners only at the conclusion of the ceremony, live from the ceremony venue. ^ a b 30 minutes of the ceremony was broadcast live. Simulcast live on NBC Blue Network affiliates on the West Coast. ^ Partial broadcast. ^ 30 minutes of the ceremony was broadcast live. Ceremony simulcast live on CBS network affiliates on the West Coast. ^ The 17th Academy Awards marked the first coast-to-coast broadcast of the ceremony, and first broadcast of the complete event. All subsequent ceremonies have been broadcast nationally in the USA. This was also the first ceremony in which film clips were used to introduce awards nominees. ^ The 40th Academy Awards ceremony marked the final year that the ceremony was simulcast live on the radio. References Edit ^ Scott Bowles (26 February 2008). "Low Oscar Ratings Cue Soul-Searching". USA Today . Retrieved 19 March 2008 . ^ Nikki Finke (26 February 2007). "UPDATE: 39.9 Million Watch 79th Oscars". Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily. LA Weekly . Retrieved 21 February 2011 . ^ Bill Gorman (8 March 2010). "Academy Awards Averages 41.3 Million Viewers; Most Since 2005". TVbytheNumbers. Archived from the original on 10 March 2010 . Retrieved 12 March 2010 . ^ a b Levy, Emanuel (2003). All About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards. New York, United States: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-8264-1452-6. ^ Crouse, Richard (2005). Reel Winners: Movie Award Trivia. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: University of Toronto Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-55002-574-3. ^ "Oscars Ceremonies". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences . Retrieved March 4, 2017 . ^ "An Unofficial History of the Academy Awards on Radio". ^ "Best, worst and weirdest Oscar hosts of all time". CNN. 22 February 2013. ^ Ferguson, LaToya (February 10, 2020). "The 92nd Academy Awards Set a New All-Time Ratings Low". IndieWire . Retrieved March 2, 2020 . External links Edit The Academy Awards, USA at the Internet Movie Database
When will coronavirus Covid-19 trigger the World Bank's pandemic bond? | Euromoney
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 12:23
This article was first published on March 4 but Covid-19 case data is being updated every day.
March 5 update: Corrected to remove additional requirement for an IDA country to have suffered at least 20 deaths before being able to apply for aid. Also updates to include details of growth rate and confirmation ratio calculations, and updates Euromoney assessment of earliest trigger date to April 6.
March 6 update: Latest clarifications from World Bank: confirmation that start of event was determined to be December 31, 2019, and further trigger requirement that at least one IBRD/IDA country be affected.
A World Health Organization (WHO) situation report on Tuesday March 10 catalogued 113,702 cases of coronavirus Covid-19 across 113 countries and territories, causing 4,012 deaths.
In 2017 the World Bank issued a pandemic bond designed to help fund the response to any widespread outbreak of a number of diseases, including coronavirus. The $320 million bond was part of a bigger $425 million risk transfer that included a concurrent $105 million swap with six reinsurance counterparties.
Should it already be paying out?
As of March 10, the answer was no, principally because the required time period has not yet elapsed since the start of the outbreak, which is 12 weeks. The World Bank confirmed to Euromoney on March 5 that the official start of the outbreak has been set at December 31, 2019, meaning that the first day following the 12-week period will be March 24.
Contrary to rumours circulating online, there is no requirement for a body like the World Bank or the World Health Organisation to formally declare that the outbreak is a pandemic for the bonds to pay out. When the criteria are met, the bonds will be triggered, whether or not a pandemic has been declared.
Some of the other criteria have been met, but two - the growth rate of cases and the ratio of confirmed cases to total cases (including suspected) - can only be calculated once all others are met, and are based on an additional period of up to two weeks.
This means that although March 24 marks the end of the 12-week period since the start of the outbreak, the growth rate and confirmation ratio data that relate to that day would not be known until April 6, according to Euromoney's assessment. The World Bank has not yet responded to Euromoney's requests to confirm this date.
If the scheme does pay out, it will do so only to a very targeted group of countries '' the poorest in the world, which are also those with the weakest healthcare systems and likely to be the slowest to begin to report accurate assessments of an outbreak.
Structuring the pandemic bond, as Euromoney reported in depth at the time, was immensely complicated, not least because it needed to strike a balance between being useful and being investible.
The bond will mature on July 15, although it can be extended by one year. The World Bank is preparing a second iteration of the scheme, dubbed Pandemic Emergency Facility (PEF) 2.0, which the Bank said last year was to be marketed in May 2020.
Some of the triggers depend on cases of disease reported by developing countries '' those that fall within the World Bank's lending categories of IBRD (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) or IDA (International Development Association).
Among the parameters governing whether or not the bond is triggered, and how much it pays out if it is, are: the number of countries affected; the number of cases in each of those countries; the number of deaths; the percentage of confirmed cases to total cases, including suspected; and the growth rate of cases.
All of these will be assessed based on specific reporting periods. The conditions to trigger the bond need to be in place at least 12 weeks after the designated start of the event for payouts to happen. After that, they must be in place on a rolling 12-week basis.
In the event that the bond is triggered, it will release funding only to IDA countries. A country seeking assistance is required to request the funds, although requests can also be made by certain designated responding agencies, chiefly multilateral development banks and United Nations agencies.
One hurdle, then, is a country's ability to reliably record and report cases and deaths. At the moment, 13 IDA countries have reported confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the WHO's data on March 10, but only a total of 42 cases, with no deaths.
According to a statement from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on March 10, some 33 African countries had reported suspected cases. The March 10 WHO data listed nine countries with confirmed cases on the continent.
Africa CDC said on March 7 that testing training had now taken place in 43 African countries and that the CDC was deploying kits to allow 1,000 tests in any country that has reported cases.
Since the pandemic bond is intended to help developing countries deal with serious outbreaks of disease, there has been criticism that it was not triggered by outbreaks of Ebola virus since its creation, including an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year. The complexity of the trigger mechanisms and the resulting difficulty in modelling the payout scenarios have also come under fire.
However, while the bonds were not triggered by last year's Ebola outbreak, the companion cash window scheme that forms the other part of the PEF was triggered and paid out $50 million to the DRC. The World Bank committed a further $350 million to that outbreak, via the IDA.
But all that has now been dwarfed by the World Bank's announcement on March 3 of an immediate $12 billion emergency aid effort to assist developing countries in tackling the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak.
Bond triggersSo far in the current coronavirus outbreak, the pandemic bond has not been triggered. What needs to happen for that to change?
Below are the key triggers for the 'insurance window' (the funding provided by the pandemic bond) to pay out.
1) Time period
A period of 12 weeks has to pass from the designated start of the outbreak, as marked by an Eligibility Event Notice. The World Bank has told Euromoney that an Eligible Event Notice was issued by the IBRD on January 31, and also confirmed on March 5 that the start date of the event was determined to be December 31, 2019.
That means the earliest date on which the criteria for triggering the bonds could begin to be assessed would be March 24. However, this is not the end of the story when it comes to the trigger date. Two of the most complex criteria - the growth rate in new cases and the confirmation ratio of confirmed cases to total cases - are based on data for the period beginning at the start of the week containing the day being assessed, through to the end of the following week.
Euromoney's assessment is that this means the earliest date when the status of all triggers could be known would be April 6.
2) Cases and geographic spread
At that point, the outbreak must be affecting more than one country anywhere in the world. If up to seven countries are affected, it is designated as a regional outbreak; if the number is eight or more, then it is designated as global. For a country to count towards this total, it must have at least 20 confirmed deaths.
In addition, the World Bank confirmed to Euromoney on March 5 that the outbreak must be occurring in at least one IBRD or IDA country, a condition that was first met by China.
The rolling total number of cases specifically in IBRD/IDA countries '' in other words, the number within a rolling 12-week period '' must be at least 250, and it must also still be growing at a rate determined by a complex formula.
The rolling confirmed number of cases must be at least 20% of the rolling total of cases, which includes those merely suspected to be coronavirus (see point 5 below for more details on the confirmation ratio).
As of the March 10 data from the WHO, there are now six countries globally with at least 20 deaths, meaning that the outbreak would currently be designated as a regional pandemic but is approaching the eight-country point at which it would be designated as global.
The six countries include China and Iran, but they cannot apply for PEF funds as they are IBRD countries, not IDA.
3) Deaths
In addition to the country-level requirement for 20 deaths for the assessment of a regional or global pandemic, there must be a total of at least 250 confirmed deaths in IBRD/IDA countries in order for the scheme to be triggered. With 3,136 reported as of March 10 in mainland China alone, the 250-death requirement has already been met for the current 12-week period.
The theoretical payout to IDA countries of the $195.8 million that is available in the case of coronavirus is staggered based on the number of total deaths in IBRD/IDA countries. At 250, the payout is 29% ($56 million) for regional outbreaks and 34% ($66 million) for global; at 750 this rises to 57% ($113 million) for regional and 67% ($131 million) for global.
The maximum requirement of 2,500 deaths has already been met, meaning that the full regional/global payout of $195.8 million is available, assuming all other criteria are met. There are formulas for determining the exact level of funding that each country can receive, based on factors including population size.
4) Pandemic bondholder losses
The World Bank's pandemic bond was structured with two classes. The $95 million class-B tranche pays out first, and can be reduced to zero by a coronavirus payout. There is a greater hurdle for payout from the $225 million class-A tranche, and the loss here is capped at 16.67%, or $37.5 million.
At 250 IBRD/IDA deaths within the time frame, and assuming the rolling case and growth rate requirements have been met, the class-B tranche suffers principal reduction of 37.5% in the case of a regional outbreak and 43.75% in the event of a global outbreak. At 750 deaths, this rises to a 75% loss for regional and 87.5% for global. At 2,500 deaths the entire tranche is lost.
The rolling deaths hurdle for the class-A tranche is 2,500, which has already been met, meaning that as things stand, the class-B tranche would be completely wiped out and the class-A tranche would suffer its maximum principal reduction of 16.67%.
In late February, the class-B bonds were marked at about 45, while the class-A were at between 90 and par.
The difference between the maximum $195.8 million assistance available to countries in the case of coronavirus and the maximum bondholder losses of $132.5 million is accounted for by the concurrent reinsurance swap.
5) Growth rate and confirmation ratio
These are the hardest to assess externally, and impossible ahead of the time at which most of the criteria would become applicable on March 24 - the reason being that both requirements are to be assessed based on the data from the two-week period in which the day occurs when all other requirements are met.
In other words, if all other criteria were satisfied on any day after the 12-week period, the growth rate of cases would be calculated based on data for the period beginning at the start of the week in which that day occurred through to the end of the following week, so a maximum of 14 days.
Based on the end of the 12-week period being March 24, that would put the end of the earliest growth rate and confirmation ratio reporting period at April 6.
The result of the growth rate calculation must be greater than zero, which will only be known when calculated after March 24.
The confirmation ratio, meanwhile, relates to the proportion of confirmed cases to total cases, including suspected. It is additionally difficult to ascertain externally as it relies on detailed insight into suspected cases reported by national authorities.
The confirmation ratio must be more than 20%, which also will only be known when calculated after March 24.
Cash window depletedThe World Bank's pandemic bond was the largest and most innovative part of a broader response programme set up by the multinational organization, called the Pandemic Emergency Facility (PEF).
It was implemented in response to what was widely recognised within the World Bank and the World Health Organization to have been a slow and ineffective reaction to a bad outbreak of Ebola in 2014.
The PEF has two parts: a cash window and an insurance window. The cash window, which is intended to be sized at $50 million to $100 million, is funded by donor countries and has more lenient triggers than the insurance window.
The insurance window is $425 million and was funded by capital markets issuance '' the $320 million bond and the $105 million swap. Bond coupons are paid for by the PEF (passed through to donor governments) and by the World Bank.
The cash window should, in theory, pay out before the insurance window. For coronavirus, it can be triggered by 30 cases in an IDA country where human-to-human transmission can be confirmed, and 100 cases if not. The cases must have occurred within any four-week period within the six weeks prior to a request for assistance being made.
However, while the cash window was envisaged to be replenished each year, the World Bank has told Euromoney that as of March 2 it had not yet been replenished in 2020, meaning that a mere $2.7 million is currently available.
Since being put in place, the PEF's cash window has been used three times '' all to help fight Ebola. In May 2018 it contributed $11.4 million to the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which also received two further tranches of $20 million and $30 million for the outbreak in 2019.
Soumya on Twitter: "NEW: WHO director Tedros says the World Health Organization is characterizing the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic." / Twitter
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 11:48
Soumya @ skarlamangla
18m Tedros: "Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO's assessment of the threat posed by the virus. It doesn't change what WHO is doing and it doesn't change what countries should do."
View conversation · Soumya @ skarlamangla
16m "Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled," Tedros said. "The challenge for many countries who are now dealing with large clusters or community transmission is not whether they can do the same, it's whether they will.
View conversation · Soumya @ skarlamangla
12m WHO director Tedros says there has been so much attention on one word: pandemic. "Let me give you some other words that matter much more and are much more actionable -- prevention, preparedness, public health, political leadership and most of all, people," he said.
View conversation ·
''Do I really need over 48 rolls of toilet paper?': The right thing to do instead of hoarding over Coronavirus fears
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 11:15
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to raise concerns around the world, Canadians have been rushing to stores to stockpile on essentials.
Toilet paper has especially been vanishing off shelves, to the point where it's hard to find a pack of rolls as part of one's shopping list. Canadians are also not the only ones. In Australia, some supermarket chains have even started to limit the amount of toilet paper purchases per person to four.
The same strategy has also been implement in some supermarkets in the United Kingdom.
''We should be preparing ourselves, but what we're seeing now is not an appropriate response,'' said Alison Thompson, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, who specializes in ethics of pandemics and the prioritization of scarce resources.
''We just need enough for 10 days if we get sick.''
The 10-day timeframe was provided because if you're healthy, it's the amount of time you'll need to recover after contracting COVID-19, says Thompson.
How about if the situation progresses?Health officials have learned that the ''the virus is not that deadly'' to warrant a lockdown across Canada, says Kerry Bowman, who teaches bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto.
Instead, it's more likely we'll see less social gatherings in the next week few weeks, such as by being asked to work from home, or seeing kids have their schools closed down to limit the spread.
Bowman says he doesn't understand why people are stockpiling on toilet paper at the moment. But for some, it may provide a sense of comfort when their home is well stocked.
''I don't see the need to stockpile, but if someone feels more secure when they stockpile, let them do it, good for them'' says Bowman. ''But remember, there's nothing to panic about, so it's a very important time to lead by example. People take their cues from other people.''
By continuing the trend of stockpiling, you may be taking supplies that are intended and needed by everyone, says Thompson.
Multiple people who spoke with Yahoo Canada on March 9, outside of a downtown Toronto Loblaws locate, mentioned that they're looking for toilet paper, only because they're afraid it'll run out by the time they actually need to re-up their stock.
Once inside, they noticed that they arrived just in the nick of time, with only a few 12-packs of toilet tissue remaining in a section that's usually filled to the brim.
''We need to discourage selfish behaviours. We need to figure out how we can support each other,'' said Thompson. ''A good way to check yourself is to ask, ''Do I really need this or am I freaking out because I saw too many posts on social media.''
You can therefore modify the question to ''Do I really need over 48 rolls of toilet paper if I or my family get sick for 10 days?''
We haven't see a long term impact in Canada on supplies such as toilet paper and non-perishable items, but there has been with personal protective equipment for health care professionals, such as a shortage in masks.
''There's some misguided behaviour here, in terms of stockpiling certain items, which in hindsight aren't the most helpful, like toilet paper,'' said Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases faculty member at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine.
Bogoch says the number one concern should be to make sure that you optimize your health. If you take prescriptions for certain pain or illnesses, you should stock up if you can.
The government of Canada's COVID-19 page also recommends that you ''consider seeing your health care provider to renew your prescriptions ahead of time.''
What you should do instead of stockpilingWhen considering how many supplies you'd need if you were to self-quarantine, Bogoch says that you need to consider your social security net. If you have friends and family close-by, you can rely on them to provide you with supplies should you run out.
At this point, Thompson says that instead of focusing on what you can buy, it's a good time to check-in with neighbours, to create a strategy of how you can take care of each others children or pets, if one of you become sick and have to self-quarantine.
But the idea to check-in people on people is especially important for seniors.
''Instead of hoarding material goods, make sure that your elderly neighbours have what they need, to go along with the necessary support if they get sick,'' says Thompson.
The last thing we would want to do is isolate old people, because it's not good for them psychologically. But in this case, it might be the best strategy, says Bowman, considering that the oldest person in a household is usually most prone to COVID-19.
''We have to start thinking of the safety of vulnerable people, especially the elderly,'' says Thompson. ''Are they in a safe place, how can we minimize social risk for them, by allowing them to stay home. What can we do to make sure that they're prepared.''
Here's why people are panic buying and stockpiling toilet paper
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 11:11
A man looks for products at a supermarket after panic buying due to the Coronavirus.
Chris Putnam | Barcroft Media | Getty Images
Panic buying has been rife amid the global spread of the new coronavirus, with consumers around the world stockpiling goods like hand sanitizer, canned foods and toilet paper.
The trend has seen stores ration products, with U.K. retailers limiting sales of hand hygiene products while Australian shoppers have seen restrictions on the amount of toilet paper they can buy.
Psychologists spoke to CNBC to weigh in on why our brains push us to panic buy '-- even when authorities are assuring the public there's no need to.
According to Paul Marsden, a consumer psychologist at the University of the Arts London, the short answer can be found in the psychology of "retail therapy" '-- where we buy to manage our emotional state.
"It's about 'taking back control' in a world where you feel out of control," he said. "More generally, panic buying can be understood as playing to our three fundamental psychology needs."
Those needs were autonomy, or a need for control, relatedness, which Marsden defined as "we shopping" rather than "me shopping," and competence, which is achieved when making a purchase gives people a sense that they are "smart shoppers."
'Fear contagion'Meanwhile, Sander van der Linden, an assistant professor of social psychology at Cambridge University, said there were both generalized and coronavirus-specific factors at play.
"In the U.S., people are receiving conflicting messages from the CDC and the Trump administration," he said. "When one organization is saying it's urgent and another says it's under control, it makes people worry."
President Donald Trump downplayed the impact of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak on Twitter this week, with a disconnect reportedly widening between the administration and U.S. health authorities. The virus is now present in at least 35 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More generally, a "fear contagion" phenomenon was taking hold, van der Linden added.
"When people are stressed their reason is hampered, so they look at what other people are doing. If others are stockpiling it leads you to engage in the same behavior," he said. "People see photos of empty shelves and regardless of whether it's rational it sends a signal to them that it's the thing to do."
"Sometimes there can be a lot of value in social knowledge '-- from an evolutionary perspective when we don't know how to react to something, we look to others for guidance," he added. "If you're in the jungle and someone jumps away from a snake you automatically do the same thing. But sometimes that gets highjacked and you're told to do something that's not the right thing to do."
While sales of hand soaps and sanitizers have soared in markets around the world since the outbreak began, consumers have also been stocking up on a somewhat surprising item '' toilet paper. According to Dimitrios Tsivrikos, lecturer in consumer and business psychology at University College London, toilet paper has become an "icon" of mass panic.
"In times of uncertainty, people enter a panic zone that makes them irrational and completely neurotic," he said in a phone call. "In other disaster conditions like a flood, we can prepare because we know how many supplies we need, but we have a virus now we know nothing about."
"When you enter a supermarket, you're looking for value and high volumes," he added, noting that people are drawn to the large packaging that toilet paper comes in when they are looking to regain a sense of control.
Tsivrikos, like van der Linden, told CNBC the lack of a clear voice from authority figures was fueling the panic.
"The public is getting conflicting advice from the government and retailers," he said. "So people mass buy. I blame the system for not having a unanimous voice on what we should be doing."
However, Peter Noel Murray, a New York-based member of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Consumer Psychology, disagreed that authority figures had the power to calm the panic-buying trend.
"If authorities were to consistently say that this virus is not a problem it wouldn't change anything," he told CNBC via telephone. "Campaigns that are authoritative are not successful if they don't tap into people's behavior."
According to Murray, cognitive and emotional responses were the two key factors involved in influencing our decisions during situations like the coronavirus outbreak.
"In this case the cognitive factor is cognitive bias, (which means) we tend to overemphasize things that are recent and very vivid," he explained. "When there's a plane crash people don't fly, when there's a shark attack people think all sharks are killers. That process makes us think that whatever the current thing is, it's similar to some terrible thing '-- it catastrophizes our view of whatever this thing is."
In this case, Murray said, people might be associating the coronavirus with a past deadly outbreak, like the 1918 Spanish flu that killed around 50 million people worldwide.
"On the emotional side, the answer is self-affirmation. In our minds we know one day we are going to be dead, and the mind deals with it through (seeking) control," Murray said.
"There's an over-representation of fear and people's minds need to respond to those kinds of feelings," he added. "The need for self-affirmation is triggered, and that drives us to do unreasonable things like buying a year's worth of toilet paper. It overwhelms the knowledge that we don't need to be doing that."
Trump calls emergency meeting with top US health officials at the White House Wednesday
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 11:06
President Donald Trump makes remarks to the media in the Capitol after attending the Senate Republican Policy luncheon on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call | Getty Images
President Donald Trump has summoned top U.S. health officials to an emergency meeting at the White House Wednesday, cutting a hearing on Capitol Hill short, said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
"This morning we were informed that President Trump and Vice President Pence have called our witnesses to an emergency meeting at the White House. We don't know the details, just that it's extremely urgent," Maloney, D-NY, said before opening the hearing on the nation's preparedness and response to the coronavirus outbreak that has swept across the nation.
Maloney said the witnesses needed to leave by 11:45 a.m. ET, significantly cutting short lawmakers' opening statements so they can get in enough questions before the witnesses had to leave.
Speakers at the hearing include Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and Terry Rauch, director of the defense medical research and development program for the National Institute of Health. Dr. Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response for the Department of Health and Human Services, is also scheduled to testify along with Chris Currie, the director of emergency management and national preparedness for the Government Accountability Office.
The White House didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment. A White House official later told reporters the meeting was scheduled yesterday as "part of the Administration's ongoing whole-of-government response to the Coronavirus."
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 1,000 on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. At least 29 people in the U.S. have died after contracting the virus. Almost half of all U.S. cases are in Washington state, California and New York, where the governors have all declared states of emergency to free up funding.
Globally, there are more than 119,000 confirmed cases and at least 4,291 deaths, according to JHU.
Trump and the White House have been trying to put together an economic stimulus plan to mitigate the impact from the outbreak. After a 2,000-point drop by the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday, the Dow bounced back somewhat Tuesday, rising 1,100 points late in the trading session. The Dow was down by about 850 points in intraday trading Wednesday.
The COVID-19 epidemic, which began in China a little over two months ago, has not yet met world health officials' designation of a global pandemic.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the WHO hasn't declared a pandemic in part because most cases of COVID-19 were still traced to known contacts or clusters of cases, and there wasn't any "evidence as yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities."
'--CNBC's Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.
DNC says Sanders/Biden AZ debate will go on despite coronavirus concerns '-- but without an audience
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:47
Viewers shouldn't expect to hear any cheers or applause in the background of Sunday night's Democratic primary debate, regardless of what happens on stage.
Due to concerns about the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus '-- formally known as COVID-19 '-- the Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that the event will take place without a live audience.
In a Tuesday night statement, DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said the decision was made despite advice that the event could have gone ahead as initially planned.
"At the request of both campaigns and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience at the Arizona debate taking place on Sunday, March 15th," the statement said. "The DNC has been in regular communication with local health officials and the Mayor's office, which advised that we could proceed as planned. Nevertheless, our number one priority has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, Arizonans and all those involved in the debate. We will continue to remain in daily contact with all stakeholders through Sunday."
The change in event format comes after Hinojosa said earlier this week that the DNC had "no plans to cancel the debate" but would remain in consultation with local officials.
The Grand Canyon State's first case of coronavirus was confirmed in late January. On Monday, the state reported its sixth confirmed case of the disease, as state Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ informed the public that the state had also seen community spread of the virus for the first time.
And while Arizona has been less impacted by the coronavirus outbreak than other states such as Washington or New York, concerns about the disease have led to the cancellation or postponement of multiple events in the state in recent days.
The event is slated take place at the Federal Theater in downtown Phoenix and will be the 11th such event of the primary race. It will only feature candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden, thanks to controversial new DNC criteria that singularly excluded remaining candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who would have qualified under earlier standards.
"To keep me off the stage, the DNC again arbitrarily changed the debate qualifications," Gabbard tweeted Friday, calling on her opponents to speak out against the new rules. "Previously they changed the qualifications in the OPPOSITE direction so Bloomberg could debate. I ask that you stand w/ me against the DNC's transparent effort to exclude me from the debates."
UK vows to build tunnel under ancient Stonehenge site - Reuters
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:41
FILE PHOTO: A rainbow is seen behind the Stonehenge stone circle as revellers watch the sun set on the eve of the Summer Solstice, in Amesbury, Britain June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's government vowed on Wednesday to build a two-mile tunnel under Stonehenge, the prehistoric site made up of a mysterious circle of stones in southern England.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that for more than three decades, governments have failed to eradicate the traffic bottleneck on roads around the site.
The plan, first announced in late 2014, has been plagued by delays, escalating costs, and concerns about the impact on a world heritage site.
''It is one of our most important regional arteries. It is one of those totemic projects symbolizing delay and obstruction. Governments have been trying to fix it since the 1980s,'' Sunak told lawmakers. ''This government is going to get it done.''
Stonehenge has long created one of Britain's most scenic traffic jams, as the road narrows and motorists slow down to take in the view of the Neolithic monument.
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison
Weinstein sentenced to 23 years for sexual assaults
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:29
NEW YORK (AP) '-- Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault, a sight the Hollywood mogul's multitude of accusers thought they would never see.
Weinstein, who has been accused of violating scores of women, was convicted last month of raping a woman in a New York City hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman at his apartment in 2006. He faced a maximum of 29 years in prison.
Both women that Weinstein was convicted of assaulting '-- a once-aspiring actress and a former TV and film production assistant '-- spoke in court Wednesday before Judge James Burke announced the sentence, confronting Weinstein again after their testimony helped seal his conviction at the landmark #MeToo trial.
The once-aspiring actress that Weinstein was convicted of raping in 2013 recalled the moment during the trial when she left the witness stand in tears and then could be heard screaming from an adjacent room.
''The day my screams were heard from the witness room was the day my voice came back to its full power,'' she said.
''Rape is not just one moment of penetration. It is forever.''
The Associated Press has a policy of not naming people who have been sexually assaulted without their consent. It is withholding the rape accuser's name because it is not clear whether she wishes to be identified.
Weinstein, who has maintained that any sexual any sexual activity was consensual, also spoke in court, saying he had fond memories of his accusers.
Looking back during the trial at emails they exchanged, he said, he thought they had a good friendship: ''I'm not going to say these aren't great people. I had wonderful times with these people. I'm just genuinely confused. Men are confused about this issue.''
Burke also heard from Weinstein's lawyers, who pleaded for leniency because of his age and frail health, and prosecutors, who said the man once celebrated as a titan of Hollywood deserved a harsh sentence that would account for allegations of wrongdoing dating to the 1970s.
Under state law, Burke was able to consider evidence outside the scope of the trial in forming his sentence.
In their sentencing letter, prosecutors outlined 16 examples they said showed Weinstein ''trapped women into his exclusive control'' so he could sexually assault them, starting when he was working as a music producer in Buffalo in 1978.
Weinstein was sentenced a week shy of his 68th birthday, and his lawyers argued that a lengthy prison term would, in effect, be a life sentence. They sought a five-year sentence, the mandatory minimum on the more serious of the two charges that jurors found him guilty of.
Weinstein used a walker throughout the trial and arrived at the courthouse Wednesday in wheelchair because of back problems from a car crash last summer, has a condition that requires shots in his eyes and last week had a stent placed to unblock an artery.
The agency that runs New York's state prisons said every inmate is evaluated to determine which facility meets his or her security, medical, mental health and other needs.
The New York case was the first criminal matter to arise from accusations of more than 90 women, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman.
Weinstein was convicted on two counts: criminal sex act for the 2006 assault on the production assistant and rape in the third degree for a 2013 attack on another woman.
On the criminal sex act count, he faced a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 25 years in prison, while the third-degree rape count carried a maximum penalty of four years in prison.
He was acquitted of the more serious charges against him of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
Weinstein contends that any sexual activity was consensual. After he was convicted he proclaimed, ''I'm innocent. I'm innocent. I'm innocent. How could this happen in America?'' according to his lawyer, Arthur Aidala.
Now that Weinstein has been sentenced, his lawyers can move forward with a promised appeal.
His legal team was upset with Burke's handling of the case, from his inclusion of a juror who'd written a novel involving predatory older men to his rulings on evidence, witnesses and objections.
Just as jury selection was about to get under way in January, authorities in Los Angeles announced new, similar charges stemming from allegations against Weinstein there.
His lawyers questioned the timing, suggesting it was meant to influence the New York jury pool, and asked Burke to delay the start of jury selection for a ''cooling off'' period, which he denied.
Weinstein was charged in California with raping a woman at a Los Angeles hotel on Feb. 18, 2013, after pushing his way inside her room, and sexually assaulting a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel suite the next night.
Weinstein could get up to 28 years in prison on charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery in the California case. Authorities have not said when he would go there to face those charges.
Three more sexual assault cases under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and Beverly Hills' police could mean that he'll face additional charges. No details have been provided on these cases.
On Twitter, follow Mike Sisak at and Tom Hays at
'It's Complete Chaos': Students Try to Make Sense of Rutgers Shutdown | TAPinto
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:22
March 10, 2020 at 9:06 PM
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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ '' The announcement of Rutgers' imminent shutdown was just a few hours old, but Ariel Gohar was going home.
The sophomore accounting major was out in front of Clothier Hall with three packed bags, waiting for his Uber ride to take him away.
Behind was half a semester's worth of coffee, sweat and tears. Ahead of him? That was a much harder question to answer.
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''I think the students are very concerned,'' Gohar said. ''They're not sure what's going to happen to them, to their grades, to their classes.''
Concern, fear, confusion and even some anger reigned up and down College Avenue in the hours after Rutgers University President Robert Barchi announced the state university was canceling classes Thursday and Friday and will move all course instruction online when students return from spring break on March 23.
The shutdown of the university comes in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that claimed the first New Jersey resident earlier today.
The 16,000 students living in residence halls in New Brunswick and Piscataway, as well as the students on the Newark and Camden campuses, have been instructed to leave as soon as possible and are encouraged to remain off campus until at least Friday, April 3.
The timing '' in the middle of midterm week '' couldn't have been worse for students such as Nicole Giron, a freshman aerospace engineering student.
What's the worst part of it all? Pretty much all of it.
''It's the fact that I have to change the entire schedule I had built,'' she said. ''It's the fact that all the classes are coming online. All my lectures are going to be on. Recitations have been canceled. The grades '' the percentage of the grades is changing because for example, some classes have iClickers (remote question answering device used in class). If those iClickers are given to everyone, they're going to diminish what percentage they are worth to your grade.
''So, everything is changing. Midterms are changing and some people are even canceling midterms and adding them to finals. So, what that's doing is putting my grade in jeopardy. It's putting other people's grades in jeopardy. At this point, I don't even know how I'm going to get back or even what's going to happen after April 3 and that's when we come back.''
Academics aside, the logistics of thousands of students packing up every last packet of Raman Noodles and heading home all at once is something Jake Allen isn't looking forward to.
The information technology and infomatics major said he's lucky because he lives in nearby Sayreville.
''It's going to be crazy here,'' he said. ''I don't know what's going to go on. It's going to be wild.''
A couple of students, intent on beating the rush, were already packing their stuff in Mom's hatchback by Tuesday afternoon.
That was little consolation to Giron.
''It's complete chaos,'' she said. ''The same way I'm struggling right now with what I'm going to do next. There's plenty of students in the same boat.''
The shutdown of the state university comes hours after Gov. Phil Murphy announced the coronavirus claimed its first Garden State resident.
The governor said the victim was a man in his 60s from Bergen County who was admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center on March 6.
''We are sad to report the first death in a case of COVID-19 in New Jersey,'' Murphy said in a statement. ''Our prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We remain vigilant to doing all we can '-- across all levels of government '-- to protect the people of New Jersey.''
The number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey increased to 15 on Tuesday, four more than Monday's total, according to the Governor's office.
The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.
Rockefeller Foundation "Lock Step"
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 09:37
Scenarios for the Future of Technologyand International Development
This report was produced by The Rockefeller Foundation and Global Business Network.May 2010
ContentsLetter from Judith Rodin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Letter from Peter Schwartz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8W H Y SCENA R IOS? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9W H Y T ECH NOLOGY? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10T H E FOC A L QU EST ION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11ENGAGING YOU R I M AGINAT ION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11The Scenario Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13CHOOSING T H E CR I T IC A L U NCERTA IN T I ES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14GLOBA L POLI T IC A L A N D ECONOM IC A LIGN M EN T . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15A DA PT I V E C A PACI T Y . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15T H E SCENA R IO NA R R AT I V ES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17Lock Step . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18Clever Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26Hack Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34Smar t Scramble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42Concluding Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
The Rockefeller Foundation suppor ts work that expands oppor tunit y and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health, and environmental challenges '-- affirming its pioneering philanthropic mission, since 1913, to ''promote the well-being'' of humanit y. We take a synergistic, strategic approach that places a high value on innovative processes and encourages new ways of seeking ideas, to break down silos and encourage interdisciplinar y thinking. One impor tant '-- and novel '-- component of our strategy toolkit is scenario planning, a process of creating narratives about the f uture based on factors likely to affect a par ticular set of challenges and oppor tunities. We believe that scenario planning has great potential for use in philanthropy to identif y unique inter ventions, simulate and rehearse impor tant decisions that could have profound implications, and highlight previously undiscovered areas of connection and intersection. Most impor tant, by providing a methodological str ucture that helps us focus on what we don't know '-- instead of what we already know '-- scenario planning allows us to achieve impact more effectively.The results of our first scenario planning exercise demonstrate a provocative and engaging exploration of the role of technology and the f uture of globalization, as you will see in the following pages. This repor t is cr ucial reading for anyone interested in creatively considering the multiple, divergent ways in which our world could evolve. The sparks of insight inspiring these narratives '-- along with their implications for philanthropy as a whole '-- were generated through the invaluable collaboration of grantee representatives, external exper ts, and Rockefeller Foundation staff. I offer a special thanks to Peter Schwar tz, Andrew Blau, and the entire team at Global Business Net work, who have helped guide us through this stimulating and energizing process.Letter from Judith RodinPresident of the Rockefeller Foundation4Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Leading this effor t at the Rockefeller Foundation is our Research Unit, which analyzes emerging risks and oppor tunities and thinks imaginatively about how to respond to the complex, rapidly changing world around us. This out ward-looking intelligence f unction adopts a cross-cutting mindset that synthesizes and integrates knowledge that accelerates our abilit y to act more quick ly and effectively. It has also helped to shape and build the notion of ''pro-poor foresight'' that is committed to applying for ward-looking tools and techniques to improve the lives of poor and v ulnerable populations around the world.I hope this publication makes clear exactly why my colleagues and I are so excited about the promise of using scenario planning to develop robust strategies and offer a refreshing viewpoint on the possibilities that lie ahead. We welcome your feedback. Judith RodinPresident The Rockefeller Foundation5Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
We are at a moment in histor y that is f ull of oppor tunit y. Technology is poised to transform the lives of millions of people throughout the world, especially those who have had little or no access to the tools that can deliver sustainable improvements for their families and communities. From farmers using mobile phones to buy and sell crops to doctors remotely monitoring and treating influenza outbreaks in r ural villages, technology is rapidly becoming more and more integral to the pace and progress of development.Philanthropy has a unique and critical role to play in this process. By focusing its patience, capital, and attention on the links bet ween technology and international development, philanthropy will change not just lives but the ver y context in which the field of philanthropy operates. This repor t represents an initial step in that direction. It explores four ver y different '-- yet ver y possible '-- scenarios for the f uture of technology and development in order to illuminate the challenges and oppor tunities that may lie ahead. It promotes a deeper understanding of the complex forces and dynamics that will accelerate or inhibit the use of technology to spur growth, oppor tunit y, and resilience especially in the developing world. Finally, it will seed a new strategic conversation among the key public, private, and philanthropic stakeholders about technology and development at the policy, program, and human levels.The Rockefeller Foundation's use of scenario planning to explore technology and international development has been both inspired and ambitious. Throughout my 40-plus-year career as a scenario planner, I have worked with many of the world's leading companies, governments, foundations, and nonprofits '-- and I know firsthand the power of the approach. Scenario planning is a powerf ul tool precisely because the f uture is unpredictable and shaped by many interacting variables. Scenarios enable us to think creatively and rigorously about the different ways these forces may interact, while forcing us to challenge our own assumptions about what we Letter from Peter SchwartzCofounder and Chairman of Global Business Network6Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
believe or hope the f uture will be. Scenarios embrace and weave together multiple perspectives and provide an ongoing framework for spotting and making sense of impor tant changes as they emerge. Perhaps most impor tantly, scenarios give us a new, shared language that deepens our conversations about the f uture and how we can help to shape it.The Rockefeller Foundation has already used this project as an oppor tunit y to clarif y and advance the relationship bet ween technology and development. Through inter views and the scenario workshops, they have engaged a diverse set of people '-- from different geographies, disciplines, and sectors '-- to identif y the key forces driving change, to explore the most critical uncer tainties, and to develop challenging yet plausible scenarios and implications. They have stretched their thinking far beyond theoretical models of technology innovation and diff usion in order to imagine how technology could actually change the lives of people from many walks of life. This is only the star t of an impor tant conversation that will continue to shape the potential of technology and international development going for ward. I look for ward to staying a par t of that conversation and to the better f uture it will bring.Peter SchwartzCofounder and Chairman Global Business Net work7Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
For decades, technology has been dramatically changing not just the lives of individuals in developed countries, but increasingly the lives and livelihoods of people throughout the developing world. Whether it is a community mobile phone, a solar panel, a new farming practice, or a cutting-edge medical device, technology is altering the landscape of possibility in places where possibilities used to be scarce. And yet looking out to the f uture, there is no single stor y to be told about how technology will continue to help shape '-- or even revolutionize '-- life in developing countries. There are many possibilities, some good and some less so, some known and some unknowable. Indeed, for ever y thing we think we can anticipate about how technology and international development will interact and inter t wine in the next 20 years and beyond, there is so much more that we cannot yet even imagine.For philanthropies as well as for other organizations, this presents a unique challenge: given the uncer taint y about how the f uture will play out, how can we best position ourselves not just to identif y technologies that improve the lives of poor communities but also to help scale and spread those that emerge? And how will the social, technological, economic, environmental, and political conditions of the f uture enable or inhibit our abilit y to do so?The Rockefeller Foundation believes that in order to understand the many ways in which technology will impact international development in the f uture, we must first broaden and deepen our individual and collective understanding of the range of possibilities. This repor t, and the project upon which it is based, is one attempt to do that. In it, we share the outputs and insights from a year-long project, under taken by the Rockefeller Foundation and Global Business Net work (GBN), designed to Introduction8Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
explore the role of technology in international development through scenario planning, a methodology in which GBN is a long-time leader. This repor t builds on the Rockefeller Foundation's growing body of work in the emerging field of pro-poor foresight. In 2009, the Institute for A lternative Futures published the repor t Foresight for Smart Globalization: Accelerating and Enhancing Pro-Poor Development Opportunities, with suppor t from the Rockefeller Foundation. That effor t was a reflection of the Foundation's strong commitment to exploring innovative processes and embracing new pathways for insight aimed at helping the world's poor. With this repor t, the Foundation takes a f ur ther step in advancing the field of pro-poor foresight, this time through the lens of scenario planning. WHY SCENARIOS?The goal of this project was not to affirm what is already known and knowable about what is happening right now at the intersections of technology and development. Rather, it was to explore the many ways in which technology and development could co-evolve '-- could both push and inhibit each other '-- in the f uture, and then to begin to examine what those possible alternative paths may imply for the world's poor and v ulnerable populations. Such an exercise required project par ticipants to push their thinking far beyond the status quo, into unchar ted territor y.Scenario planning is a methodology designed to help guide groups and individuals through exactly this creative process. The process begins by identif ying forces of change in the world, then combining those forces in different ways to create a set of diverse stories '-- or scenarios '-- about how the f uture could evolve. Scenarios are designed to stretch our thinking about both the oppor tunities and obstacles that the f uture might hold; they explore, through narrative, events and dynamics that might alter, inhibit, or enhance current trends, often in sur prising ways. Together, a set of scenarios captures a range of f uture possibilities, good and bad, expected and sur prising '-- but always plausible. Impor tantly, scenarios are not predictions. Rather, they are thoughtf ul hy potheses that allow us to imagine, and then to rehearse, different strategies for how to be more prepared for the f uture '-- or more ambitiously, how to help shape better f utures ourselves. 9Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
WHY TECHNOLOGY?Technology was chosen as a focal point of this project because of its potentially transformative role '-- both in a positive and negative way '-- in addressing a wide range of development challenges, from climate change, healthcare, and agriculture to housing, transpor tation, and education. Yet while there is little doubt that technology will continue to be a driver of change across the developing world in the f uture, the precise trajector y along which technological innovation will travel is highly uncer tain. For example, will critical technological advances come from the developed world, or will innovators and their innovations be more geographically dispersed? Or, how might the global economic and political environment affect the pace of technology development? It is impor tant to state that in focusing on technology, this project did not set out to identif y a set of exact, yet-to-be-invented technologies that will help shape and change the f uture. Rather, the goal was to gain a broader and richer understanding of different paths along which technology could develop '-- paths that will be strongly influenced by the overall global environment in which the inventors and adopters of those technologies will find themselves working and dwelling. Technology, as a categor y, cannot be divorced from the context in which it develops. The scenarios shared in this repor t explore four such contexts, each of which, as you'll see, suggests ver y different landscapes for technology and its potential impacts in the developing world. Finally, a note about what we mean by ''technology.'' In this repor t, we use the term to refer to a broad spectr um of tools and methods of organization. Technologies can range from tools for basic sur vival, such as a treadle pump and basic filtration technologies, to more advanced innovations, such as methods of collecting and utilizing data in health informatics and novel building materials with real-time environmental sensing capabilities. This repor t focuses on themes associated with the widespread scalabilit y, adoption, and assessment of technology in the developing world. W hile the scenarios themselves are narratives about the global environment, we have paid par ticular attention to how events might transpire in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and India. 10Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
THE FOCAL QUESTIONEver y scenario project has a focal question '-- a broad yet strategic quer y that ser ves as an anchor for the scenarios. For this project, the focal question was:How might technology affect barriers to building resilience and equitable growth in the developing world over the next 15 to 20 years?In other words, what new or existing technologies could be leveraged to improve the capacit y of individuals, communities, and systems to respond to major changes, or what technologies could improve the lives of v ulnerable populations around the world? A 15- to 20-year timeframe was chosen on the assumption that it is both sufficiently long enough that significant technological change is plausible and sufficiently shor t enough that we can imagine some possibilities for the kinds of technologies that could be developed and applied. Focusing on how to overcome a set of obstacles associated with the application of technology to the challenges of development helped to both bound the inquir y and promote a problem-solving approach that seeks to identif y potential, systematic intervention oppor tunities. ENGAGING YOUR IMAGINATIONIt is our hope that these scenarios help inspire the same f uture-orientation in other initiatives that are broadly concerned with technology and international development. Of course, there is no hard data about the f uture '-- nobody yet knows precisely what technologies will be successf ul at addressing new and evolving development needs. Rather, as you read the scenarios, think of them as a journey '-- four journeys '-- into a f uture that is relevant, thought-provoking, and possible. Imagine how the world will f unction and how it will be organized to tack le the challenges it faces. W ho will be responsible for driving local and global development initiatives and what would that require? And what is your own role in leading your organization, communit y, or region to a preferred f uture? A Note on TerminologyThe Foundation's work promotes ''resilience and equitable growth.'' Resilience refers to the capacity of individuals, communities, and systems to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of changes, even catastrophic incidents. Equitable growth involves enabling individuals, communities, and institutions to access new tools, practices, resources, services, and products.11Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenarios are a medium through which great change can be not just envisioned but also actualized. The more closely you read them, the more likely it becomes that you will recognize their impor tant but less obvious implications to you, your work, and your communit y. We strongly encourage you to share and discuss this repor t widely, use it as a springboard for f ur ther creative thinking about how technology could shape development, and test and adjust your strategies or personal actions accordingly. It is also our hope that these scenarios help to identif y potential areas of f uture work for governments, philanthropies, cor porations, and nonprofits, and that they illuminate choices and commitments that a wide range of organizations may want to make in these areas in the f uture. This repor t adds to a growing body of literature focusing on the relationship bet ween technology, development, and social systems. W hile not a comprehensive list, the following readings offer additional insights on this topic. 'Caroline Wagner, The New Invisible College: Science for Development, 2008.'Institute for the Future, Science and Technology Outlook: 2005-2055, 2006. 'R A N D Cor poration, The Global Technology Revolution 2020, In-Depth Analyses, 2006. 'World Bank, Science, Technology, and Innovation: Capacity Building for Sustainable Growth and Poverty Reduction, 2008. 'U N Millennium Project, Task Force on Science, Technology, and Innovation, Innovation: Applying Knowledge in Development, 2006. 'W. Brian A r thur, The Nature of Technology: W hat It Is and How It Evolves, 2009.'ST EPS Centre Working Papers, Innovation, Sustainability, Development: A New Manifesto, 2009.FURTHER READING ON TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT12Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
The Rockefeller Foundation and GBN began the scenario process by surfacing a host of driving forces that would affect the future of technology and international development. These forces were generated through both secondary research and in-depth interviews with Foundation staff, Foundation grantees, and external experts. Next, all these constituents came together in several explorator y workshops to f ur ther brainstorm the content of these forces, which could be divided into t wo categories: predetermined elements and critical uncer tainties. A good star ting point for any set of scenarios is to understand those driving forces that we can be reasonably cer tain will shape the worlds we are describing, also known as ''predetermined elements.'' For example, it is a near geopolitical cer taint y that '-- with the rise of China, India, and other nations '-- a multi-polar global system is emerging. One demographic cer taint y is that global population growth will continue and will put pressure on energy, food, and water resources '-- especially in the developing world. Another related cer taint y: that the world will strive to source more of its energy from renewable resources and may succeed, but there will likely still be a significant level of global interdependence on energy. Predetermined elements are impor tant to any scenario stor y, but they are not the foundation on which these stories are built. Rather, scenarios are formed around ''critical uncer tainties'' '-- driving forces that are considered both highly impor tant to the focal issue and highly uncer tain in terms of their f uture resolution. W hereas predetermined elements are predictable driving forces, uncer tainties are by their nature unpredictable: their outcome can be guessed at but not known.The Scenario Framework13Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
W hile any single uncer taint y could challenge our thinking, the f uture will be shaped by multiple forces playing out over time. The scenario framework provides a str uctured way to consider how these critical uncer tainties might unfold and evolve in combination. Identif ying the t wo most impor tant uncer tainties guarantees that the resulting scenarios will differ in ways that have been judged to be critical to the focal question. CHOOSING THE CRITICAL UNCERTAINTIESDuring this project's scenario creation workshop, par ticipants '-- who represented a range of regional and international perspectives '-- selected the t wo critical uncer tainties that would form the basis of the scenario framework. They chose these t wo uncer tainties from a longer list of potential uncer tainties that might shape the broader contextual environment of the scenarios, including social, technology, economic, environmental, and political trends. The uncer tainties that were considered included, for example, the per vasiveness of conflict in the developing world; the frequency and severit y of shocks like economic and political crises, disease, and natural disasters; and the locus of innovation for cr ucial technologies for development. (A f ull list of the critical uncer tainties identified during the project, as well as a list of project par ticipants, can be found in the Appendix.)The t wo chosen uncer tainties, introduced below, together define a set of four scenarios for the f uture of technology and international development that are divergent, challenging, internally consistent, and plausible. Each of the t wo uncer tainties is expressed as an axis that represents a continuum of possibilities ranging bet ween t wo endpoints.ADAPTIVE CAPACITYHIGHLOWPOLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ALIGNMENTWEAKSTRONG14Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
GLOBAL POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ALIGNMENTThis uncer taint y refers to both the amount of economic integration '-- the flow of goods, capital, people, and ideas '-- as well as the extent to which enduring and effective political str uctures enable the world to deal with many of the global challenges it faces. On one end of the axis, we would see a more integrated global economy with high trade volumes, which enables access to a wider range of goods and ser vices through impor ts and expor ts, and the increasing specialization of expor ts. We would also see more cooperation at the supra-national level, fostering increased collaboration, strengthened global institutions, and the formation of effective international problem-solving net works. At the other axis endpoint, the potential for economic development in the developing world would be reduced by the fragilit y of the overall global economy '-- coupled with protectionism and fragmentation of trade '-- along with a weakening of governance regimes that raise barriers to cooperation, thereby hindering agreement on and implementation of large-scale, interconnected solutions to pressing global challenges.ADAPTIVE CAPACITY This uncer taint y refers to the capacit y at different levels of societ y to cope with change and to adapt effectively. This abilit y to adapt can mean proactively managing existing systems and str uctures to ensure their resilience against external forces, as well as the abilit y to transform those systems and str uctures when a changed context means they are no longer suitable. Adaptive capacit y is generally associated with higher levels of education in a societ y, as well as the availabilit y of outlets for those who have educations to f ur ther their individual and societal well-being. High levels of adaptive capacit y are t y pically achieved through the existence of tr ust in societ y; the presence and tolerance of novelt y and diversit y; the strength, variet y, and overlap of human institutions; and the free flow of communication and ideas, especially bet ween and across different levels, e.g., bottom-up and top-down. Lower levels of adaptive capacit y emerge in the absence of these characteristics and leave populations par ticularly v ulnerable to the disr uptive effects of unanticipated shocks. 15Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Once crossed, these axes create a matrix of four ver y different f utures:LOCK STEP '' A world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian eadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushbackCLEVER TOGETHER '' A world in which highly coordinated and successf ul strategies emerge for addressing both urgent and entrenched worldwide issuesHACK ATTACK '' An economically unstable and shock-prone world in which governments weaken, criminals thrive, and dangerous innovations emergeSMART SCRAMBLE '' An economically depressed world in which individuals and communities develop localized, makeshift solutions to a growing set of problems16Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
THE SCENARIO NARRATIVESThe scenarios that follow are not meant to be exhaustive '-- rather, they are designed to be both plausible and provocative, to engage your imagination while also raising new questions for you about what that f uture might look and feel like. Each scenario tells a stor y of how the world, and in par ticular the developing world, might progress over the next 15 to 20 years, with an emphasis on those elements relating to the use of different technologies and the interaction of these technologies with the lives of the poor and v ulnerable. Accompanying each scenario is a range of elements that aspire to f ur ther illuminate life, technology, and philanthropy in that world. These include: 'A timeline of possible headlines and emblematic events unfolding during the period of the scenario'Shor t descriptions of what technologies and technology trends we might see 'Initial obser vations on the changing role of philanthropy in that world, highlighting oppor tunities and challenges that philanthropic organizations would face and what their operating environment might be like'A ''day in the life'' sketch of a person living and working in that world Please keep in mind that the scenarios in this repor t are stories, not forecasts, and the plausibilit y of a scenario does not hinge on the occurrence of any par ticular detail. In the scenario titled ''Clever Together,'' for example, ''a consor tium of nations, NGOs [non-governmental organizations] , and companies establish the Global Technology Assessment Office'' '-- a detail meant to symbolize how a high degree of international coordination and adaptation might lead to the formation of a body that anticipates technology's potential societal implications. That detail, along with dozens of others in each scenario, is there to give you a more tangible ''feel'' for the world described in the scenario. Please consider names, dates, and other such specifics in each scenario as proxies for t y pes of events, not as necessar y conditions for any par ticular scenario to unfold.We now invite you to immerse yourself in each f uture world and consider four different visions for the evolution of technology and international development to 2030.17Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
LOCK STEPScenarioNarrativesA world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushbackIn 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009's H1N1, this new influenza strain '-- originating from wild geese '-- was extremely vir ulent and deadly. Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were quick ly over whelmed when the vir us streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million in just seven months, the majorit y of them healthy young adults. The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobilit y of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains. Even locally, normally bustling shops and office buildings sat empt y for months, devoid of both employees and customers.The pandemic blanketed the planet '-- though dispropor tionate numbers died in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America, where the vir us spread like wildfire in the absence of official containment protocols. But even in developed countries, containment was a challenge. The United States's initial policy of ''strongly discouraging'' citizens from flying proved deadly in its leniency, accelerating the spread of the vir us not just within the U.S. but across borders. However, a few countries did fare better '-- China in par ticular. The Chinese government's quick imposition and enforcement of mandator y quarantine for all citizens, as well as its instant and near-hermetic sealing off of all borders, saved millions of lives, stopping the spread of the vir us far earlier than in other countries and enabling a swifter post- pandemic recover y.18Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
China's government was not the only one that took extreme measures to protect its citizens from risk and exposure. During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authorit y and imposed air tight r ules and restrictions, from the mandator y wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets. Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems '-- from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising pover t y '-- leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power.At first, the notion of a more controlled world gained wide acceptance and approval. Citizens willingly gave up some of their sovereignt y '-- and their privacy '-- to more paternalistic states in exchange for greater safet y and stabilit y. Citizens were more tolerant, and even eager, for top-down direction and oversight, and national leaders had more latitude to impose order in the ways they saw fit. In developed countries, this heightened oversight took many forms: biometric IDs for all citizens, for example, and tighter regulation of key industries whose stabilit y was deemed vital to national interests. In many developed countries, enforced cooperation with a suite of new regulations and agreements slowly but steadily restored both order and, impor tantly, economic growth.Across the developing world, however, the stor y was different '-- and much more variable. Top-down authorit y took different forms in different countries, hinging largely on the capacit y, caliber, and intentions of their leaders. In countries with strong and thoughtf ul leaders, citizens' overall economic status and qualit y of life increased. In India, for example, air qualit y drastically improved after 2016, when the government outlawed high-emitting vehicles. In Ghana, the introduction of ambitious government programs to improve basic infrastr ucture and ensure the availabilit y of clean water for all her people led to a shar p decline in water-borne diseases. But more authoritarian leadership worked less well '-- and in some cases tragically '-- in countries r un by irresponsible elites who used their increased power to pursue their own interests at the expense of their citizens. There were other downsides, as the rise of vir ulent nationalism created new hazards: spectators at the 2018 World Cup, for example, 19Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives LOCK STEP''IT IS POSSIBLE TO DISCIPLINE AND CONTROL SOME SOCIETIES FOR SOME TIME, BUT NOT THE WHOLE WORLD ALL THE TIME.'' '' GK Bhat, TARU Leading Edge, Indiawore bulletproof vests that spor ted a patch of their national flag. Strong technology regulations stifled innovation, kept costs high, and curbed adoption. In the developing world, access to ''approved'' technologies increased but beyond that remained limited: the locus of technology innovation was largely in the developed world, leaving many developing countries on the receiving end of technologies that others consider ''best'' for them. Some governments found this patronizing and ref used to distribute computers and other technologies that they scoffed at as ''second hand.'' Meanwhile, developing countries with more resources and better capacit y began to innovate internally to fill these gaps on their own.Meanwhile, in the developed world, the presence of so many top-down r ules and norms greatly inhibited entrepreneurial activit y. Scientists and innovators were often told by governments what research lines to pursue and were guided mostly toward projects that would make money (e.g., market-driven product development) or were ''sure bets'' (e.g., f undamental research), leaving more risky or innovative research areas largely untapped. Well-off countries and monopolistic companies with big research and development budgets still made significant advances, but the IP behind their breakthroughs remained locked behind strict national or cor porate protection. Russia and India imposed stringent domestic standards for super vising and cer tif ying encr y ption-related products and their suppliers '-- a categor y that in realit y meant all I T innovations. The U.S. and EU str uck back with retaliator y national standards, throwing a wrench in the development and diff usion of technology globally.Especially in the developing world, acting in one's national self-interest often meant seeking practical alliances that fit with those 20Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives LOCK STEPinterests '-- whether it was gaining access to needed resources or banding together in order to achieve economic growth. In South America and Africa, regional and sub-regional alliances became more str uctured. Kenya doubled its trade with southern and eastern Africa, as new par tnerships grew within the continent. China's investment in Africa expanded as the bargain of new jobs and infrastr ucture in exchange for access to key minerals or food expor ts proved agreeable to many governments. Cross-border ties proliferated in the form of official securit y aid. W hile the deployment of foreign securit y teams was welcomed in some of the most dire failed states, one-size-fits-all solutions yielded few positive results.By 2025, people seemed to be growing wear y of so much top-down control and letting leaders and authorities make choices for them. W herever national interests clashed with individual interests, there was conflict. Sporadic pushback became increasingly organized and coordinated, as disaffected youth and people who had seen their status and oppor tunities slip away '-- largely in developing countries '-- incited civil unrest. In 2026, protestors in Nigeria brought down the government, fed up with the entrenched cronyism and corr uption. Even those who liked the greater stabilit y and predictabilit y of this world began to grow uncomfor table and constrained by so many tight r ules and by the strictness of national boundaries. The feeling lingered that sooner or later, something would inevitably upset the neat order that the world's governments had worked so hard to establish. '21Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives LOCK STEPPhilanthropic organizations will face hard choices in this world. Given the strong role of governments, doing philanthropy will require heightened diplomacy skills and the abilit y to operate effectively in extremely divergent environments. Philanthropy grantee and civil societ y relationships will be strongly moderated by government, and some foundations might choose to align themselves more closely with national official development assistance (ODA) strategies and government objectives. Larger philanthropies will retain an outsized share of influence, and many smaller philanthropies may find value in merging financial, human, and operational resources.Philanthropic organizations interested in promoting universal rights and freedoms will get blocked at many nations' borders. Developing smar t, flexible, and wide-ranging relationships in this world will be key; some philanthropies may choose to work only in places where their skills and ser vices don't meet resistance. Many governments will place severe restrictions on the program areas and geographies that international philanthropies can work in, leading to a narrower and stronger geographic focus or grant-making in their home countr y only.ROLE OF PHILANTHROPY IN LOCK STEPHEADLINES IN LOCK STEP22Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development 20102030202520202015Quarantine RIn-PCellular Networks Overloaded\(2013\) Italy Addresses 'Immigrant CarGap with R\(2017\)Vietnam\221on Every Home\222 \(2022\) African Leaders Fear RGovernment Collapse\(2028\)Intercontinental TP \(2015\) Will Africaof Authoritarian Capitalism a la China Continue? \(2018\) PNetworks in Eastern and Southern Africa Strengthen R\(2023\)
Scenario Narratives LOCK STEPW hile there is no way of accurately predicting what the important technological advancements will be in the future, the scenario narratives point to areas where conditions may enable or accelerate the development of certain kinds of technologies. Thus for each scenario we offer a sense of the context for technological innovation, taking into consideration the pace, geography, and key creators. We also suggest a few technology trends and applications that could flourish in each scenario. Technological innovation in ''Lock Step'' is largely driven by government and is focused on issues of national securit y and health and safet y. Most technological improvements are created by and for developed countries, shaped by governments' dual desire to control and to monitor their citizens. In states with poor governance, large-scale projects that fail to progress abound. Technology trends and applications we might see:'Scanners using advanced f unctional magnetic resonance imaging (f M R I) technology become the norm at air por ts and other public areas to detect abnormal behavior that may indicate ''antisocial intent.'' 'In the aftermath of pandemic scares, smar ter packaging for food and beverages is applied first by big companies and producers in a business-to-business environment, and then adopted for individual products and consumers.'New diagnostics are developed to detect communicable diseases. The application of health screening also changes; screening becomes a prerequisite for release from a hospital or prison, successf ully slowing the spread of many diseases. 'Tele-presence technologies respond to the demand for less expensive, lower-bandwidth, sophisticated communications systems for populations whose travel is restricted. 'Driven by protectionism and national securit y concerns, nations create their own independent, regionally defined I T net works, mimicking China's firewalls. Governments have var ying degrees of success in policing internet traffic, but these effor ts never theless fracture the ''World Wide'' Web.TECHNOLOGY IN LOCK STEP23Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives LOCK STEPManisha gazed out on the Ganges River, mesmerized by what she saw. Back in 2010, when she was 12 years old, her parents had brought her to this river so that she could bathe in its holy waters. But standing at the edge, Manisha had been afraid. It wasn't the depth of the river or its currents that had scared her, but the water itself: it was murky and brown and smelled pungently of trash and dead things. Manisha had balked, but her mother had pushed her for ward, shouting that this river flowed from the lotus feet of Vishnu and she should be honored to enter it. A long with millions of Hindus, her mother believed the Ganges's water could cleanse a person's soul of all sins and even cure the sick. So Manisha had gr udgingly dunked herself in the river, accidentally swallowing water in the process and receiving a bad case of giardia, and months of diarrhea, as a result.Remembering that experience is what made today so remarkable. It was now 2025. Manisha was 27 years old and a manager for the Indian government's Ganges Purification Initiative (GPI) . Until recently, the Ganges was still one of the most polluted rivers in the world, its coliform bacteria levels astronomical due to the frequent disposal of human and animal cor pses and of sewage (back in 2010, 89 million liters per day) directly into the river. Dozens of organized attempts to clean the Ganges over the years had failed. In 2009, the World Bank even loaned India $1 billion to suppor t the government's multi-billion dollar cleanup initiative. But then the pandemic hit, and that f unding dried up. But what didn't dr y up was the government's commitment to cleaning the Ganges '-- now not just an issue of public health but increasingly one of national pride.Manisha had joined the GPI in 2020, in par t because she was so impressed by the government's strong stance on restoring the ecological health of India's most treasured resource. Many lives in her home cit y of Jaipur had been saved by the government's quarantines during the pandemic, and that experience, thought Manisha, had given the government the confidence to be so strict about river usage LIFE IN LOCK STEP24Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives LOCK STEPnow: how else could they get millions of Indian citizens to completely shift their cultural practices in relationship to a holy site? Discarding ritually burned bodies in the Ganges was now illegal, punishable by years of jail time. Companies found to be dumping waste of any kind in the river were immediately shut down by the government. There were also severe restrictions on where people could bathe and where they could wash clothing. Ever y 20 meters along the river was marked by a sign outlining the repercussions of ''disrespecting India's most treasured natural resource.'' Of course, not ever yone liked it; protests flared ever y so often. But no one could deny that the Ganges was looking more beautif ul and healthier than ever.Manisha watched as an engineering team began unloading equipment on the banks. Many top Indian scientists and engineers had been recr uited by the government to develop tools and strategies for cleaning the Ganges in more high-tech ways. Her favorite were the submersible bots that continuously ''swam'' the river to detect, through sensors, the presence of chemical pathogens. New riverside filtration systems that sucked in dir t y river water and spit out far cleaner water were also impressive '-- especially because on the outside they were designed to look like mini-temples. In fact, that's why Manisha was at the river today, to oversee the installation of a filtration system located not even 100 feet from where she first stepped into the Ganges as a girl. The water looked so much cleaner now, and recent tests suggested that it might even meet drinkabilit y standards by 2035. Manisha was tempted to kick off her shoe and dip her toe in, but this was a restricted area now '-- and she, of all people, would never break that law.25Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
CLEVER TOGETHERA world in which highly coordinated and successful strategies emerge for addressing both urgent and entrenched worldwide issuesThe recession of 2008-10 did not turn into the decades-long global economic slide that many had feared. In fact, quite the opposite: strong global growth returned in force, with the world headed once again toward the demographic and economic projections forecasted before the downturn. India and China were on track to see their middle classes explode to 1 billion by 2020. Mega-cities like Sao Paulo and Jakar ta expanded at a blistering pace as millions poured in from r ural areas. Countries raced to industrialize by whatever means necessar y; the global marketplace bustled.But t wo big problems loomed. First, not all people and places benefited equally from this return to globalized growth: all boats were rising, but some were clearly rising more. Second, those hell-bent on development and expansion largely ignored the ver y real environmental consequences of their unrestricted growth. Undeniably, the planet's climate was becoming increasingly unstable. Sea levels were rising fast, even as countries continued to build-out coastal mega-cities. In 2014, the Hudson River overflowed into New York Cit y during a storm surge, turning the World Trade Center site into a three-foot-deep lake. The image of motorboats navigating through lower Manhattan jarred the world's most powerf ul nations into realizing that climate change was not just a developing-world problem. That same year, new measurements showing that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were climbing precipitously created new urgency and pressure for governments (really, for ever yone) to do something fast.26Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
In such an interconnected world, where the behaviors of one countr y, company, or individual had potentially high-impact effects on all others, piecemeal attempts by one nation here, one small collective of environmental organizations there, would not be enough to stave off a climate disaster '-- or, for that matter, to effectively address a host of other planetar y-scale problems. But highly coordinated worldwide strategies for addressing such urgent issues just might. W hat was needed was systems thinking '-- and systems acting '-- on a global scale. International coordination star ted slowly, then accelerated faster than anyone had imagined. In 2015, a critical mass of middle income and developed countries with strong economic growth publicly committed to leveraging their resources against global-scale problems, beginning with climate change. Together, their governments hashed out plans for monitoring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the shor t term and improving the absor ptive capacit y of the natural environment over the long term. In 2017, an international agreement was reached on carbon sequestration (by then, most multinational cor porations had a chief carbon officer) and intellectual and financial resources were pooled to build out carbon capture processes that would best suppor t the global ecosystem. A f unctioning global cap and trade system was also established. Worldwide, the pressure to reduce waste and increase efficiency in planet-friendly ways was enormous. New globally coordinated systems for monitoring energy use capacit y '-- including smar t grids and bottom-up pattern recognition technologies '-- were rolled out. These effor ts produced real results: by 2022, new projections showed a significant slowing in the rise of atmospheric carbon levels.Inspired by the success of this experiment in collective global action, large-scale coordinated initiatives intensified. Centralized global oversight and governance str uctures sprang up, not just for energy use but also for disease and technology standards. Such systems and str uctures required far greater levels of transparency, which in turn required more tech-enabled data collection, processing, and feedback. Enormous, benign ''sousveillance'' systems allowed citizens to access data '-- all publically available '-- in real time and react. Nation-states lost some of their power and impor tance as global architecture strengthened and regional governance str uctures emerged. International oversight entities like the U N 27Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
''WHAT IS OFTEN SURPRISING ABOUT NEW TECHNOLOGIES IS COLLATERAL DAMAGE: THE EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM THAT YOU CAN CREATE BY SOLVING ANOTHER PROBLEM IS ALWAYS A BIT OF A SURPRISE.'''' Michael Free, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)took on new levels of authorit y, as did regional systems like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEA N), the New Par tnership for Africa's Development (N EPA D), and the Asian Development Bank (A DB) . The worldwide spirit of collaboration also fostered new alliances and alignments among cor porations, NGOs, and communities. These strong alliances laid the groundwork for more global and par ticipator y attempts to solve big problems and raise the standard of living of ever yone. Coordinated effor ts to tack le long-entrenched problems like hunger, disease, and access to basic needs took hold. New inexpensive technologies like better medical diagnostics and more effective vaccines improved healthcare deliver y and health outcomes. Companies, NGOs, and governments '-- often acting together '-- launched pilot programs and learning labs to figure out how to best meet the needs of par ticular communities, increasing the knowledge base of what worked and what didn't. Pharmaceuticals giants released thousands of dr ug compounds shown to be effective against diseases like malaria into the public domain as par t of an ''open innovation'' agenda; they also opened their archives of R&D on neglected diseases deemed not commercially viable, offering seed f unding to scientists who wanted to carr y the research for ward.There was a push for major innovations in energy and water for the developing world, as those areas were thought to be the key to improving equit y. Better food distribution was also high on the agenda, and more open markets and south-south trade helped make this a realit y. In 2022, a consor tium of nations, NGOs, and companies established the Global Technology Assessment Office, providing easily accessible, real-time information about the costs and benefits of various technology applications to developing and developed countries alike. A ll of these effor ts translated into real progress on real problems, opening up new oppor tunities Scenario Narratives CLEVER TOGETHER28Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives CLEVER TOGETHERto address the needs of the bottom billion '-- and enabling developing countries to become engines of growth in their own right. In many par ts of the developing world, economic growth rates increased due to a host of factors. Improved infrastr ucture accelerated the greater mobilit y of both people and goods, and urban and r ural areas got better connected. In Africa, growth that star ted on the coasts spread inward along new transpor tation corridors. Increased trade drove the specialization of individual firms and the overall diversification of economies. In many places, traditional social barriers to overcoming pover t y grew less relevant as more people gained access to a spectr um of usef ul technologies '-- from disposable computers to do-it-yourself (DI Y) windmills.Given the circumstances that forced these new heights of global cooperation and responsibilit y, it was no sur prise that much of the growth in the developing world was achieved more cleanly and more ''greenly.'' In Africa, there was a big push for solar energy, as the physical geography and low population densit y of much of the continent enabled the proliferation of solar farms. The Deser tec initiative to create massive thermal electricit y plants to supply both Nor th Africa and, via undersea cable lines, Southern Europe was a huge success. By 2025, a majorit y of electricit y in the Maghreb was coming from solar, with expor ts of that power earning valuable foreign currency. The switch to solar created new ''sun'' jobs, drastically cut CO2 emissions, and earned governments billions annually. India exploited its geography to create similar ''solar valleys'' while decentralized solar-powered drip irrigation systems became popular in sub-Saharan Africa.Reduced energy dependency enabled all of these countries and regions to better control and manage their own resources. In Africa, political architecture above the nation-state level, like the African Union, strengthened and contributed to a ''good governance'' drive. Regional integration through COM ESA (the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) and other institutions allowed member nations to better organize to meet their collective needs as consumers and increasingly as producers.Over the course of t wo decades, enormous strides were made to make the world less wastef ul, more efficient, and more inclusive. But the world was far from perfect. There were still failed states and places with few resources. Moreover, such rapid progress had created new problems. Rising consumption standards unexpectedly ushered in a new set of pressures: the improved food distribution system, for example, generated a food production crisis due to greater demand. Indeed, demand for ever y thing was growing exponentially. By 2028, despite ongoing effor ts to guide ''smar t growth,'' it was becoming clear that the world could not suppor t such rapid growth forever. '29Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
In this world, philanthropic organizations focus their attention on the needs of the bottom billion, collaborating with governments, businesses, and local NGOs to improve standards of living around the globe. Operationally, this is a ''vir tual model'' world in which philanthropies use all of the tools at their disposal to reinforce and bolster their work. With par tnerships and net works increasingly key, philanthropies work in a more vir tual way, characterized by lots of wikis, blogs, workspaces, video conferences, and vir tual convenings. Smaller philanthropies proliferate, with a growing number of major donors emerging from the developing world. Systems thinking and knowledge management prove to be critical skills, as philanthropic organizations seek to share and spread best practices, identif y leapfrog oppor tunities, and better spot problems in failed or weak states. There are considerable flows of talent bet ween the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and the lines bet ween these t y pes of organizations become increasingly blurred.ROLE OF PHILANTHROPY IN CLEVER TOGETHERScenario Narratives CLEVER TOGETHERHEADLINES IN CLEVER TOGETHER30Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development20102030202520202015Global Economy T\(2011\) 'Info Cruncher' Is Grads' Job of Choice as Data Era Dawns \(2016\)A First: UP\(2020\) Consortium ofLaunches Third Green RShortages Loom \(2027\)REmission T New ErChange Negotiations \(2015\) Green InfrastructurRLandscape \(2018\)TRof Improved Governance\(2025\)
In ''Clever Together,'' strong global cooperation on a range of issues drives technological breakthroughs that combat disease, climate change, and energy shor tages. Trade and foreign direct investment spread technologies in all directions and make products cheaper for people in the developing world, thereby widening access to a range of technologies. The atmosphere of cooperation and transparency allows states and regions to glean insights from massive datasets to vastly improve the management and allocation of financial and environmental resources.Technology trends and applications we might see:'The cost of capturing data through nanosensors and smar t net works falls precipitously. In many developing countries, this leads to a proliferation of new and usef ul ser vices, including ''sousveillance'' mechanisms that improve governance and enable more efficient use of government resources.'Intelligent electricit y, water distribution, and transpor tation systems develop in urban areas. In these ''smar t cities,'' internet access is seen as a basic right by the late 2010s. 'A malaria vaccine is developed and deployed broadly '-- saving millions of lives in the developing world.'Advances in low-cost mind-controlled prosthetics aid the 80 percent of global amputees who live in developing countries.'Solar power is made vastly more efficient through advances in materials, including polymers and nanopar ticles. An effective combination of government subsidies and microfinance means solar is used for ever y thing from desalination for agriculture to wi-fi net works.'Flexible and rapid mobile payment systems drive dynamic economic growth in the developing world, while the developed world is hampered by entrenched banking interests and regulation.TECHNOLOGY IN CLEVER TOGETHERScenario Narratives CLEVER TOGETHER31Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives CLEVER TOGETHERStanding next to his desk at the World Meat Science Lab in Zurich, Alec took another bite of the steak that his lab assistants had just presented to him and chewed it rather thoughtf ully. This wasn't just any steak. It was research. A lec and his research team had been working for months to fabricate a new meat product '-- one that tasted just like beef yet actually contained only 50 percent meat; the remaining half was a combination of synthetic meat, for tified grains, and nano-flavoring. Finding the ''right'' formula for that combo had kept the lab's employees working around the clock in recent weeks. And judging from the look on A lec's face, their work wasn't over. ''The flavor is still a few degrees off,'' he told them. ''And Kofi and A lana '-- see what we can do about enhancing this texture.'' As A lec watched his team scramble back to their lab benches, he felt confident that it wouldn't be long before they would announce the invention of an exciting new meat product that would be ser ved at dinner tables ever y where. And, in tr uth, A lec's confidence was ver y well founded. For one, he had the world's best and brightest minds in food science from all over the world working together right here in his lab. He also had access to seemingly infinite amounts of data and information on ever y thing from global taste preferences to meat distribution patterns '-- and just a few touches on his lab's research screens (so much easier than the clunky computers and keyboards of the old days) gave him instant access to ever y piece of research ever done in meat science or related fields from the 1800s up through the present (literally the present '-- access to posted scientific research was nearly instantaneous, delayed by a mere 1.3 seconds) . A lec also had strong motivation. There was no doubt that meat science '-- indeed, all science '-- was much more exciting, challenging, and rewarding in 2023 than it was a few decades ago. The shift from ''lone wolf '' science to globally coordinated and open-platform research had greatly accelerated the speed and spread of breakthrough ideas and developments in all fields. As a result, scientists were LIFE IN CLEVER TOGETHER32Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives CLEVER TOGETHERmaking real progress in addressing planet-wide problems that had previously seemed so intractable: people were no longer dying as frequently from preventable diseases, for example, and alternative f uels were now mainstream. But other trends were troubling '-- especially to a scientist who had spent his whole career researching food. In cities and villages around the world where children used to be hungr y, access to higher-calorie meals had produced alarming increases in the incidence of obesit y and diabetes. The demand for meat, in par ticular, was rising, but adding more animals to the planet created its own set of problems, such as more methane and spiking water demand. And that's where A lec saw both need and oppor tunit y: why not make the planet's meat supply go f ur ther by creating a healthier alternative that contained less real meat? ''A lec, we have a new version for you to tr y,'' yelled Kofi from across the lab. That was fast, thought A lec, as he searched around his desk for the fork. 33Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
HACK ATTACKAn economically unstable and shock-prone world in which governments weaken, criminals thrive, and dangerous innovations emergeDevastating shocks like September 11, the Southeast Asian tsunami of 2004, and the 2010 Haiti ear thquake had cer tainly primed the world for sudden disasters. But no one was prepared for a world in which large-scale catastrophes would occur with such breathtaking frequency. The years 2010 to 2020 were dubbed the ''doom decade'' for good reason: the 2012 Olympic bombing, which killed 13,000, was followed closely by an ear thquake in Indonesia killing 40,000, a tsunami that almost wiped out Nicaragua, and the onset of the West China Famine, caused by a once-in-a-millennium drought linked to climate change.Not sur prisingly, this opening series of deadly asynchronous catastrophes (there were more) put enormous pressure on an already overstressed global economy that had entered the decade still in recession. Massive humanitarian relief effor ts cost vast sums of money, but the primar y sources '-- from aid agencies to developed-world governments '-- had r un out of f unds to offer. Most nation-states could no longer afford their locked-in costs, let alone respond to increased citizen demands for more securit y, more healthcare coverage, more social programs and ser vices, and more infrastr ucture repair. In 2014, when mudslides in Lima buried thousands, only minimal help trick led in, prompting the Economist headline: ''Is the Planet Finally Bankr upt? ''These dire circumstances forced tough tradeoffs. In 2015, the U.S. reallocated a large share of its defense spending to domestic concerns, pulling out of Afghanistan '-- where the resurgent Taliban seized power once again. In Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa, more and more nation-states lost control of their public finances, along 34Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
with the capacit y to help their citizens and retain stabilit y and order. Resource scarcities and trade disputes, together with severe economic and climate stresses, pushed many alliances and par tnerships to the breaking point; they also sparked prox y wars and low-level conflict in resource-rich par ts of the developing world. Nations raised trade barriers in order to protect their domestic sectors against impor ts and '-- in the face of global food and resource shor tages '-- to reduce expor ts of agricultural produce and other commodities. By 2016, the global coordination and interconnectedness that had marked the post-Berlin Wall world was tenuous at best.With government power weakened, order rapidly disintegrating, and safet y nets evaporating, violence and crime grew more rampant. Countries with ethnic, religious, or class divisions saw especially shar p spikes in hostilit y: Naxalite separatists dramatically expanded their guerrilla campaign in East India; Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed escalated; and across Africa, fights over resources er upted along ethnic or tribal lines. Meanwhile, over taxed militaries and police forces could do little to stop growing communities of criminals and terrorists from gaining power. Technology-enabled gangs and net worked criminal enter prises exploited both the weakness of states and the desperation of individuals. With increasing ease, these ''global guerillas'' moved illicit products through underground channels from poor producer countries to markets in the developed world. Using retired 727s and other rogue aircraft, they crisscrossed the Atlantic, from South America to Africa, transpor ting cocaine, weapons, and operatives. Dr ug and gun money became a common recr uiting tool for the desperately poor. Criminal net works also grew highly skilled at counterfeiting licit goods through reverse engineering. Many of these ''rip-offs'' and copycats were of poor qualit y or downright dangerous. In the context of weak health systems, corr uption, and inattention to standards '-- either within countries or from global bodies like the World Health Organization '-- tainted vaccines entered the public health systems of several African countries. In 2021, 600 children in Cote d'Ivoire died from a bogus Hepatitis B vaccine, which paled in comparison to the scandal sparked by mass deaths from a tainted anti-malarial dr ug years later. The deaths and resulting scandals shar ply affected public confidence in vaccine deliver y; parents not just in Africa but elsewhere 35Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
''WE HAVE THIS LOVE AFFAIR WITH STRONG CENTRAL STATES, BUT THAT'S NOT THE ONLY POSSIBILITY. TECHNOLOGY IS GOING TO MAKE THIS EVEN MORE REAL FOR AFRICA. THERE IS THE SAME CELLPHONE PENETRATION RATE IN SOMALIA AS IN RWANDA. IN THAT RESPECT, SOMALIA WORKS.'' '' Aidan Eyakuze, Society for International Development, Tanzaniabegan to avoid vaccinating their children, and it wasn't long before infant and child mor talit y rates rose to levels not seen since the 1970s. Technology hackers were also hard at work. Internet scams and pyramid schemes plagued inboxes. Meanwhile, more sophisticated hackers attempted to take down cor porations, government systems, and banks via phishing scams and database information heists, and their many successes generated billions of dollars in losses. Desperate to protect themselves and their intellectual proper t y, the few multinationals still thriving enacted strong, increasingly complex defensive measures. Patent applications skyrocketed and patent thickets proliferated, as companies fought to claim and control even the tiniest innovations. Securit y measures and screenings tightened. This ''wild west'' environment had a profound impact on innovation. The threat of being hacked and the presence of so many thefts and fakes lowered the incentives to create ''me first'' rather than ''me too'' technologies. And so many patent thickets made the cross-pollination of ideas and research difficult at best. Blockbuster pharmaceuticals quick ly became ar tifacts of the past, replaced by increased production of generics. Breakthrough innovations still happened in various industries, but they were focused more on technologies that could not be easily replicated or re-engineered. And once created, they were vigorously guarded by their inventors '-- or even by their nations. In 2022, a biof uel breakthrough in Brazil was protected as a national treasure and used as a bargaining chip in trade with other countries. Verif ying the authenticit y of any thing was increasingly difficult. The heroic effor ts of several companies and NGOs to create Scenario Narratives HACK ATTACK36Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
recognized seals of safet y and approval proved ineffective when even those seals were hacked. The positive effects of the mobile and internet revolutions were tempered by their increasing fragilit y as scamming and vir uses proliferated, preventing these net works from achieving the reliabilit y required to become the backbone of developing economies '-- or a source of tr ust wor thy information for anybody.Interestingly, not all of the ''hacking'' was bad. Genetically modified crops (GMOs) and do-it-yourself (DI Y) biotech became backyard and garage activities, producing impor tant advances. In 2017, a net work of renegade African scientists who had returned to their home countries after working in Western multinationals unveiled the first of a range of new GMOs that boosted agricultural productivit y on the continent.But despite such effor ts, the global have/have-not gap grew wider than ever. The ver y rich still had the financial means to protect themselves; gated communities spr ung up from New York to Lagos, providing safe havens surrounded by slums. In 2025, it was de rigueur to build not a house but a high-walled for tress, guarded by armed personnel. The wealthy also capitalized on the loose regulator y environment to experiment with advanced medical treatments and other under-the-radar activities.Those who couldn't buy their way out of chaos '-- which was most people '-- retreated to whatever ''safet y'' they could find. With oppor tunit y frozen and global mobilit y at a near standstill '-- no place wanted more people, especially more poor people '-- it was often a retreat to the familiar: family ties, religious beliefs, or even national allegiance. Tr ust was afforded to those who guaranteed safet y and sur vival '-- whether it was a warlord, an evangelical preacher, or a mother. In some places, the collapse of state capacit y led to a resurgence of feudalism. In other areas, people managed to create more resilient communities operating as isolated micro versions of formerly large-scale systems. The weakening of national governments also enabled grassroots movements to form and grow, creating rays of hope amid the bleakness. By 2030, the distinction bet ween ''developed'' and ''developing'' nations no longer seemed par ticularly descriptive or relevant. 'Scenario Narratives HACK ATTACK37Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Philanthropy is less about affecting change than about promoting stabilit y and addressing basic sur vival needs. Philanthropic organizations move to suppor t urgent humanitarian effor ts at the grassroots level, doing ''guerrilla philanthropy'' by identif ying the ''hackers'' and innovators who are catalysts of change in local settings. Yet identif ying pro-social entrepreneurs is a challenge, because verification is difficult amid so much scamming and deception. The operational model in this world is a ''for tress model'' in which philanthropic organizations coalesce into a strong, single unit to combat fraud and lack of tr ust. Philanthropies' biggest assets are their reputation, brand, and legal/financial capacit y to ward off threats and attempts at destabilization. They also pursue a less global approach, retreating to doing work in their home countries or a few countries that they know well and perceive as being safe.ROLE OF PHILANTHROPY IN HACK ATTACKScenario Narratives HACK ATTACKHEADLINES IN HACK ATTACK38Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development20102030202520202015Millennium Development Goals P \(2012\) Islamic TNetworks Thrive in Latin America \(2016\) Doctors Without Borders Confined Within Borders\(2020\) WMedicines to Southeast Asian Communities\(2028\)Violence Against Minorities and Immigrants Spik \(2014\) Congo D10,000 iDrug Scandal \(2018\) Nations Struggling with Rto Scale Synthetic Biology\(2021\) India-PW\(2027\)
Mounting obstacles to market access and to knowledge creation and sharing slow the pace of technological innovation. Creative repur posing of existing technologies '-- for good and bad '-- is widespread, as counterfeiting and IP theft lower incentives for original innovation. In a world of trade disputes and resource scarcities, much effor t focuses on finding replacements for what is no longer available. Per vasive insecurit y means that tools of aggression and protection '-- vir tual as well as cor poreal '-- are in high demand, as are technologies that will allow hedonistic escapes from the stresses of life. Technology trends and applications we might see:'Echoing the rise of synthetic chemicals in the nineteenth centur y, synthetic biology, often state-f unded, is used to ''grow'' resources and foodstuffs that have become scarce. 'New threats like weaponized biological pathogens and destr uctive botnets dominate public attention, but enduring technologies, like the A K-47, also remain weapons of choice for global guerrillas. 'The internet is overr un with spam and securit y threats and becomes strongly associated with illicit activit y '-- especially on ''dark webs'' where no government can monitor, identif y, or restrict activities. 'Identit y-verification technologies become a staple of daily life, with some hitches '-- a database of retina recordings stolen by hackers in 2017 is used to create numerous false identities still ''at large'' in the mid-2020s. 'With the cost of cosmetic surger y dropping, procedures like the lunchtime facelift become routine among emerging middle classes.TECHNOLOGY IN HACK ATTACKScenario Narratives HACK ATTACK39Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives HACK ATTACKTrent never thought that his past experience as a government intelligence officer would conver t into something'...philanthropic. But in a world f ull of deceit and scamming, his skills at discerning fact from fiction and developing quick yet deep local knowledge were highly prized. For three months now he had been working for a development organization, hired to find out what was happening in the ''grey'' areas in Botswana '-- a countr y that was once praised for its good governance but whose laws and institutions had begun to falter in the last few years, with corr uption on the rise. His instr uctions were simple: focus not on the dysf unctional (which, Trent could see, was ever y where) but rather look through the chaos to see what was actually working. Find local innovations and practices that were smar t and good and might be adopted or implemented elsewhere. ''Guerrilla philanthropy'' was what they called it, a turn of phrase that he liked quite a bit. His trip into Botswana had been eventf ul '-- to put it mildly. On-time flights were rare these days, and the plane got diver ted three times because of landing authorization snaf us. At the Gaborone air por t, it took Trent six hours to clear customs and immigration. The air por t was bereft of personnel, and those on dut y took their time scr utinizing and re-scr utinizing his visa. Botswana had none of the high-tech biometric scanning checkpoints '-- technology that could literally see right through you '-- that most developed nations had in abundance in their air por ts, along their borders, and in government buildings. Once out of the air por t Trent was shocked by how many guns he saw '-- not just slung on the shoulders of police, but carried by regular people. He even saw a mother with a baby in one arm and an A K-47 in the other. This wasn't the Botswana he remembered way back when he was stationed here 20 years ago as an embassy employee. The organization that hired him was probably more right than it realized in calling it guerrilla philanthropy. After many weeks spent chasing down leads in Gaborone, then an unfor tunate stint that had him hiking for miles alone through the Kalahari LIFE IN HACK ATTACK40Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives HACK ATTACKDeser t, Trent found himself traveling deep into the Chobe Forest (a nice reprieve, he thought, from inhaling all that sand) . One of his informants had told him about a group of smar t youngsters who had set up their own biotechnology lab on the banks of the Chobe River, which ran along the forest's nor thern boundar y. He'd been outfitted with ample f unds for grant-making, not the forest bribes he had heard so much about; regardless of what was taking place in the world around him, he was under strict orders to behave ethically. Trent was also caref ul to cover his tracks to avoid being kidnapped by international crime syndicates '-- including the Russian mafia and the Chinese triads '-- that had become ver y active and influential in Botswana. But he'd made it through, finally, to the lab, which he later learned was under the protection of the local gun lord. As expected, counterfeit vaccines were being manufactured. But so were GMO seeds. And synthetic proteins. And a host of other innovations that the people who hired him would love to know about.41Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
SMART SCRAMBLEAn economically depressed world in which individuals and communities develop localized, makeshift solutions to a growing set of problemsThe global recession that star ted in 2008 did not trail off in 2010 but dragged onward. Vigorous attempts to jumpstar t markets and economies didn't work, or at least not fast enough to reverse the steady downward pull. The combined private and public debt burden hanging over the developed world continued to depress economic activit y, both there and in developing countries with economies dependent on expor ting to (formerly) rich markets. Without the abilit y to boost economic activit y, many countries saw their debts deepen and civil unrest and crime rates climb. The United States, too, lost much of its presence and credibilit y on the international stage due to deepening debt, debilitated markets, and a distracted government. This, in turn, led to the fracturing or decoupling of many international collaborations star ted by or reliant on the U.S.'s continued strength. A lso in trouble was China, where social stabilit y grew more precarious. Depressed economic activit y, combined with the ecological consequences of China's rapid growth, star ted to take their toll, causing the shaky balance that had held since 1989 to finally break down. With their focus trained on managing the serious political and economic instabilit y at home, the Chinese shar ply cur tailed their investments in Africa and other par ts of the developing world. Indeed, nearly all foreign investment in Africa '-- as well as formal, institutional flows of aid and other suppor t for the poorest countries '-- was cut back except in the gravest humanitarian emergencies. Overall, economic 42Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
stabilit y felt so shaky that the occurrence of a sudden climate shock or other disaster would likely send the world into a tailspin. Luckily, those big shocks didn't occur, though there was a lingering concern that they could in the f uture.Not that anyone had time to think about the f uture '-- present challenges were too pressing. In the developed world, unemployment rates skyrocketed. So did xenophobia, as companies and industries gave the few available jobs to native-born citizens, shunning foreign-born applicants. Great numbers of immigrants who had resettled in the developed world suddenly found that the economic oppor tunities that had drawn them were now paltr y at best. By 2018, London had been drained of immigrants, as they headed back to their home countries, taking their education and skills with them. Reverse migration left holes in the communities of depar ture '-- both socially and literally '-- as stores formerly owned by immigrants stood empt y.And their homelands needed them. Across the developing world and especially in Africa, economic sur vival was now firmly in local hands. With little help or aid coming through ''official'' and organized channels '-- and in the absence of strong trade and foreign currency earnings '-- most people and communities had no choice but to help themselves and, increasingly, one another. Yet ''sur vival'' and ''success'' varied greatly by location '-- not just by countr y, but by cit y and by communit y. Communities inside failed states suffered the most, their poor growing still poorer. In many places, the failures of political leadership and the stresses of economic weakness and social conflict stifled the abilit y of people to rise above their dire circumstances. Not sur prisingly, across much of the developing world the r ural-urban divide gaped wider, as more limited availabilit y and access to resources like I T and trade made sur vival and self-sufficiency much more challenging for non-urban dwellers. Communications and interactions that formerly ser ved to bridge one family or one village or one student with their counter par ts in other places '-- from emailing to phone calls to web postings '-- became less reliable. Internet access had not progressed far beyond its 2010 status, in par t because the investment dollars needed to build out the necessar y infrastr ucture simply weren't there. W hen cellphone towers or fiber optic cables broke down, repairs were often delayed by months or even years. As a result, only people in cer tain geographies had access to the latest 43Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
''THE SPREADING OF IDEAS DEPENDS ON ACCESS TO COMMUNICATION, PEER GROUPS, AND COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE. EVEN IF SOMEONE HAS BLUEPRINTS TO MAKE SOMETHING, THEY MAY NOT HAVE THE MATERIALS OR KNOW-HOW. IN A WORLD SUCH AS THIS, HOW DO YOU CREATE AN ECOSYSTEM OF RESEARCH AMONG THESE COMMUNITIES?'''' Jose Gomez-Marquez, Program Director for the Innovations in International Health initiative (IIH), MIT communication and internet gadgets, while others became more isolated for lack of such connections. But there were silver linings. Government capacit y improved in more advanced par ts of the developing world where economies had already begun to generate a self-sustaining dynamic before the 2008-2010 crisis, such as Indonesia, Rwanda, Turkey, and Vietnam. A reas with good access to natural resources, diverse skill sets, and a stronger set of overlapping institutions did far better than others; so did cities and communities where large numbers of ''returnees'' helped drive change and improvement. Most innovation in these better-off places involved modif ying existing devices and technologies to be more adaptive to a specific context. But people also found or invented new ways '-- technological and non-technological '-- to improve their capacit y to sur vive and, in some cases, to raise their overall living standards. In Accra, a returning Ghanaian M I T professor, working with resettled pharma researchers, helped invent a cheap edible vaccine against tuberculosis that dramatically reduced childhood mor talit y across the continent. In Nairobi, returnees launched a local ''vocational education for all'' project that proved wildly successf ul and was soon replicated in other par ts of sub-Saharan Africa.Makeshift, ''good enough'' technology solutions '-- addressing ever y thing from water purification and harnessing energy to improved crop yield and disease control '-- emerged to fill the gaps. Communities grew tighter. Micro-manufacturing, communal gardens, and patchwork energy grids were created at the local level for local pur poses. Many communities took on the aura of co-ops, some even launching Scenario Narratives SMART SCRAMBLE44Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
currencies designed to boost local trade and bring communities closer together. Nowhere was this more tr ue than in India, where localized experiments proliferated, and succeeded or failed, with little connection to or impact on other par ts of the countr y '-- or the world.These developments were encouraging, but also fr ustrating. In the absence of enduring trade and FDI channels, local experiments and innovations could neither scale nor boost overall growth. For those looking, it was difficult to find or access creative solutions. Scaling was f ur ther inhibited by the lack of compatible technology standards, making innovations difficult to replicate. Apps developed in r ural China simply didn't work in urban India.High-speed internet access '-- which gradually emerged in some areas despite weak government or philanthropic suppor t '-- did help, enabling students in isolated pockets in the developing world to access knowledge and instr uction through the written word and other media like video. But the development of tangible devices, products, and innovations continued to lag in places where local manufacturing skills and capacities had not yet scaled. More complex engineering solutions proved even more difficult to develop and diff use.By 2025, collaboration was finally improving, with ecosystems of research and sharing '-- many of them ''vir tual'' '-- beginning to emerge. Yet without major progress in global economic integration and collaboration, many worried that good ideas would stay isolated, and sur vival and success would remain a local '-- not a global or national '-- phenomenon. 'Scenario Narratives SMART SCRAMBLE45Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Philanthropic organizations look to f und at the grassroots level, in order to reach people more quick ly and solve shor t-term problems. The meta-goal in this world is to scale up: to identif y and build capacit y from the individual through the institutional, because without global coordination, innovation cannot scale on its own. Philanthropy requires a keen screening capacit y to identif y highly localized solutions, with specialized pockets of exper tise that make par tnerships more challenging and transitions bet ween sectors and issues harder to achieve.Philanthropy operations are decentralized; headquar ters are less impor tant, and the abilit y to quick ly access different par ts of the world and reconfigure teams on shor t notice is key. Office space is rented by the day or week, not the month or year, because more people are in the field '-- testing, evaluating, and repor ting on myriad pilot projects.ROLE OF PHILANTHROPY IN SMART SCRAMBLEScenario Narratives SMART SCRAMBLEHEADLINES IN SMART SCRAMBLE46Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development20102030202520202015National Medical Labs in Southeast Asia Herald New DNative Diseases\(2013\)'RStruggle to Expand SBeyond Home Mark\(2020\)VC Spending Within SubAfrica T\(2025\)Low-P Diarrhea Deaths in India \(2015\)Chinese Government PSpread to 250 Ci\(2017\)FEthiopia\227Again\(2022\) Makwith \221Idol\222 FSpotlight Y\(2027\)
Scenario Narratives SMART SCRAMBLEEconomic and political instabilit y fracture societies in the developed world, resources for technology development diminish, and talented immigrants are forced to return to their countries of origin. As a result, capacit y and knowledge are distributed more widely, allowing many small pockets of do-it-yourself innovation to emerge. Low-tech, ''good enough'' solutions abound, cobbled together with whatever materials and designs can be found. However, the transfer of cutting-edge technology through foreign direct investment is rare. Str uctural deficiencies in the broader innovation ecosystem '-- in accessing capital, markets, and a stable internet '-- and in the proliferation of local standards limit wider growth and development. Technology trends and applications we might see:'Energy technology improvements are geared more toward efficiency '-- getting more from existing sources of power '-- than new-generation technologies, though some local improvements in generating and distributing wind and geothermal energy do occur.'Breakdowns in the global medicine supply chain accelerate the emergence of locally bioengineered super-strength homeopathic remedies, which replace antibiotics in the dispensaries of many developing-world hospitals.'Widespread micro-manufacturing, using 3D printers, enables the fabrication of replacement components for engines and machines, allowing ''per petual maintenance'' to compensate for broken trade links.'Garden allotments proliferate in mega-cities as new urban-dwellers seek to supplement a scarce food supply and maintain their agricultural heritage. 'Technically advanced communities use mesh net works to ensure high-speed internet access, but most r ural poor remain cut off from access.TECHNOLOGY IN SMART SCRAMBLE47Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
Scenario Narratives SMART SCRAMBLEThe beat-up six-seater plane in which Lidi was the lone passenger lurched suddenly. She groaned, grabbed the armrests, and held on as the plane dipped shar ply before finally settling into a smooth flight path. Lidi hated small planes. But with ver y few commercial jets crisscrossing Africa these days, she didn't have much choice. Lidi '-- an Eritrean by bir th '-- was a social entrepreneur on a mission that she deemed critical to the f uture of her home continent, and enduring these plane flights was an unfor tunate but necessar y sacrifice. Working together with a small team of technologists, Lidi's goal was to help the good ideas and innovations that were emerging across Africa to spread faster '-- or, really, spread at all. In this, Lidi had her work cut out for her. Accelerating and scaling the impact of local solutions developed for ver y local markets was far from easy '-- especially given the patchiness of internet access across Africa and the myopic perspective that was now, in 2025, a widespread phenomenon. She used to worr y about how to scale good ideas from continent to continent; these days she'd consider it a great success to extend them 20 miles. And the creative redundancy was shocking! Just last week, in Mali, Lidi had spent time with a farmer whose co-op was developing a drought-resistant cassava. They were extremely proud of their effor ts, and for good reason. Lidi didn't have the hear t to tell them that, while their work was indeed brilliant, it had already been done. Several times, in several different places.During her many flights, Lidi had spent hours looking out the window, gazing down on the villages and cities below. She wished there were an easier way to let the innovators in those places know that they might not be inventing, but rather independently reinventing, tools, goods, processes, and practices that were already in use. W hat Africa lacked wasn't great ideas and talent: both were abundant. The missing piece was finding a way to connect those dots. And that's why she was back on this ricket y plane again and heading to Tunisia. She and her team were now concentrating on promoting mesh net works across Africa, so that places lacking internet access could share nodes, get connected, and maybe even share and scale their best innovations.LIFE IN SMART SCRAMBLE48Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
As you have seen, each of the scenarios, if it were to unfold, would call for different strategies and have different implications for how a range of organizations will work and relate to changes in technology. But no matter what world might emerge, there are real choices to be made about what areas and goals to address and how to drive success toward particular objectives.We hope that reading the scenario narratives and their accompanying stories about philanthropy, technology, and people has sparked your imagination, provoking new thinking about these emergent themes and their possibilities. Three key insights stood out to us as we developed these scenarios.First, the link bet ween technology and governance is critical to consider in better understanding how technology could be developed and deployed. In some f utures, the primacy of the nation-state as a unit of analysis in development was questioned as both supra- or sub-national str uctures proved more salient to the achievement of development goals. In other f utures, the nation-state's power strengthened and it became an even more powerf ul actor both to the benefit and to the detriment of the development process, depending on the qualit y of governance. Technologies will affect governance, and governance in turn will play a major role in determining what technologies are developed and who those technologies are intended, and able, to benefit.A second recurring theme in the scenarios is that development work will require different levels of inter vention, possibly simultaneously. In some scenarios, philanthropic organizations and other actors in development face a set of obstacles in working with large institutions, but may face a yet-unfolding set of oppor tunities to work with nontraditional par tners '-- even individuals. The organization that is able to navigate bet ween these levels and actors may be best positioned to drive success.Concluding Thoughts49Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
DEVELOPMENT-LED INTERVENTIONS ARE OFTEN NOT CAREFUL ENOUGH ABOUT WHAT THE TECHNOLOGY NEEDS IN ORDER TO WORK ON A THREE, FIVE, OR SEVEN YEAR CYCLE. WHAT SCALE IS REQUIRED FOR DEPLOYMENT TO BE SUCCESSFUL? WHAT LEVEL OF EDUCATION IS NEEDED TO BE SUSTAINABLE IN TERMS OF MAINTENANCE? HOW DO THESE REQUIREMENTS EVOLVE OVER TIME?'' Isha Ray, Professor, University of California-Berkeley School of Information, Energy, and Resources GroupConcluding ThoughtsThe third theme highlights the potential value of scenarios as one critical element of strategy development. These narratives have ser ved to kick-star t the idea generation process, build the f uture-oriented mindset of par ticipants, and provide a guide for ongoing trend monitoring and horizon scanning activities. They also offer a usef ul framework that can help in tracking and making sense of early indicators and milestones that might signal the way in which the world is actually transforming.W hile these four scenarios var y significantly from one another, one theme is common to them all: new innovations and uses of technology will be an active and integral par t of the international development stor y going for ward. The changing nature of technologies could shape the characteristics of development and the kinds of development aid that are in demand. In a f uture in which technologies are effectively adopted and adapted by poor people on a broad scale, expectations about the provision of ser vices could f undamentally shift. Developing a deeper understanding of the ways in which technology can impact development will better prepare ever yone for the f uture, and help all of us drive it in new and positive directions.50Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
CRITICAL UNCERTAINTIESThe following is a list of the 15 critical uncer tainties presented to par ticipants during this project's primar y scenario creation workshop. These uncer tainties were themselves selected from a significantly longer list generated during earlier phases of research and extensive inter viewing. The uncer tainties fall into three categories: technological, social and environmental, and economic and political. Each uncer taint y is presented along with t wo polar endpoints, both representing a ver y different direction in which that uncer taint y might develop.TECHNOLOGICAL UNCERTAINTIESnew technologies‚ƒtechnologies with the most impact on development‚existing technologiesboth developed and developing worlds‚ƒorigin of technology innovations critical to development‚developed world and some BR ICsslow the adoption of novel technologies‚ƒsocial and cultural norms‚allow for rapid adoption of novel technologiesfew‚ƒnew innovations that substantially reduce child and infant mor talit y (vaccines, treatments, cures)‚manySOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL UNCERTAINTIESstatic, traditional‚ƒcommunit y identit y in the developing world‚dynamic, open to the novel and nontraditionalrestricted‚ƒeducational and employment oppor tunities for women‚expandinginfrequent and manageable‚ƒoccurrence of ''shocks'' like disease, famine, and natural disasters‚frequent and highly disr uptivepoor and worsening ‚ƒqualit y of the local environment in the developing world (air, water, sanitation, built environment, etc.)‚improved and improvingde-prioritized‚ƒglobal climate change awareness and action‚prioritizedAppendix51Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
ECONOMIC & POLITICAL UNCERTAINTIESworse than expected‚ƒ global economic performance, 2010-2015‚improves significantlyinhibiting‚ƒr ules and norms around entrepreneurial activit y‚suppor tivestatic‚ƒeducation and training oppor tunities in the developing world‚increasingmarginal and contained ‚ƒconflict in the developing world‚per vasive and widespreadweak, with barriers to cooperation‚ƒ international economic and strategic relationships‚strong, with more supranational cooperationworse and more prone to disr uptions‚ƒfood securit y in the developing world‚better and more secureLIST OF PARTICIPANTSThis repor t is the result of extensive effor t and collaboration among Rockefeller Foundation initiative staff, Foundation grantees, and external exper ts. The Rockefeller Foundation and GBN would like to extend special thanks to all of the individuals who contributed their thoughtf ulness and exper tise throughout the scenario process. Their enthusiastic par ticipation in inter views, workshops, and the ongoing iteration of the scenarios made this co-creative process more stimulating and engaging that it could ever have been other wise.ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION STAFFProject LeadsClaudia Juech, Managing DirectorEvan Michelson, Senior Research AssociateCore TeamKarl Brown, Associate DirectorRober t Buck ley, Managing DirectorLily Dorment, Research AssociateBrinda Ganguly, Associate DirectorVeronica Olazabal, Research Associate Gar y Toenniessen, Managing DirectorThank you as well to all Foundation staff who participated in the scenario creation workshop in December. A special thank you also to Laura Yousef.52Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION GRANTEESG.K. Bhat, TA RU Leading Edge, IndiaLe Bach Duong, Institute for Social Development Studies, VietnamAidan Eyakuze, Societ y for International Development, TanzaniaMichael Free, PAT H, Seattle, WANamrita Kapur, Root Capital, Boston, M APaul Kukubo, Kenya ICT Board, KenyaJoseph Mureithi, Kenyan Agriculture Research Institute, KenyaEXTERNAL EXPERTSStewar t Brand, Cofounder of GBN and President of the Long Now FoundationRober t de Jongh, Managing Regional Director, SN V Latin AmericaJos(C) Gomez-Marquez, Program Director for the Innovations in International Health initiative (IIH), Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyNatalie Jeremijenko, Experimental Designer and Director of xdesign Environmental Health Clinic, New York Universit y Athar Osama, Visiting Fellow, Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Boston Universit yIsha Ray, Professor, School of Information (Energy and Resources Group), Universit y of California-BerkeleyEnrique Rueda-Sabater, Director of Strategy and Business Development for Emerging Markets, CiscoCaroline Wagner, Senior Analyst, SR I International and Research Scientist, Center for International Science and Technology Policy, The George Washington Universit yGLOBAL BUSINESS NETWORKAndrew Blau, Co-PresidentTara Capsuto, Senior Practice AssociateLynn Carr uthers, Visual PractitionerMichael Costigan, PractitionerJenny Johnston, Senior EditorBarbara K ibbe, Vice President of Client Ser vices, Monitor InstituteBrie Linkenhoker, Senior PractitionerPeter Schwar tz, Chairman53Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development
The Rockefeller Foundation420 Fifth AveNew York, NY 10018tel +1 212 869 8500 fax +1 212 764 3468www.rockefellerfoundation.orgGlobal Business Network101 Market StreetSuite 1000San Francisco, CA 94105tel +1 415 932 5400 fax +1 415 932
LOCK STEP: This is No Futuristic Scenario | New Eastern Outlook
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 09:26
Every day world mainstream news reports more people in more countries diagnosed ''positive'' for the coronavirus illness, now called COVID-19. As the reported numbers grow, so does widespread nervousness, often in the form of panic shopping for masks, disinfections, toilet paper, canned goods. We are told to accept the testing results as science-based. While it is next to impossible to get a full picture of what is taking place in China, the center of the novel virus storm, there is a process, being fed by mainstream media accounts and genuine panic in populations unclear what the real dangers are, that has alarming implications for the post-pandemic future.
During the last week of January the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ordered an unprecedented lock down of an entire city of 11 million, Wuhan, in an attempt to contain a public health situation that had clearly gotten out of control. Never before in the history of modern public health had a government placed an entire city in quarantine by imposing a cordon sanitaire around it. That lock down was quickly extended to other China cities to the extent that, for the past weeks, a major part of the world's second largest national economy has shut down. That in turn is impacting the global economy.
At this point, as cases and the first deaths are being reported in countries outside of China, especially in South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy, the prime question everyone has is how dangerous this virus is. The fiasco with the US CDC, where the putative tests for the novel virus were shown defective, underscores the fact that the testing for the now-named virus, SARS-CoV-2, said to cause the disease called COVID-19, is anything but 100% reliable. Despite this, influenced by a steady stream of mainstream media images of empty shop shelves in Italy, of police cordons around Washington State nursing homes said to house several presumed Coronavirus patients, of pictures of Iranian hospitals filled with body bags, millions of citizens are understandably becoming alarmed and fearful.
What is being done in city after city and country after country is cancellation of major events where many people come together. This has included the Venice Carnival, major sports events, trade shows in Switzerland and elsewhere being canceled. Major airlines are being financially devastated as people around the world cancel holiday flights, as are cruise ship lines. China orders burning of cash notes claiming they might be contaminated. The French Louvre reopens but does not accept cash, only cards, as paper might be contaminated. WHO warns about paper money contagion risk. Countries are introducing laws such as in the UK allowing legal detention of citizens who might have a virus. Growing media promotion in the West of shop shelves bare of everyday essentials such as rice, pasta, toilet paper is feeding panic buying everywhere.
Questions on Death Rate
It is important to have a perspective on the apparent deaths provably due to COVID-19. Here facts become very imprecise.
As of March 3, 2020 according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, worldwide there were a total of 90,893 cases of COVID-19, with 3,110 resulting in death. He then called this a 3.4% mortality rate, a figure highly disputed by other health experts. Tedros stated, ''Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.''
The problem is that no one can say precisely what the true death rate is. That's because globally we have not tested all who might have mild cases of the virus and the accuracy of those tests are anything but 100% certain. But a statement about a death rate more than three times that of seasonal flu is a real panic-maker if true.
The reality is very likely a far lower true mortality according to epidemic experts. ''We do not report all the cases,'' says Professor John Edmunds of the Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. ''In fact, we only usually report a small proportion of them. If there are many more cases in reality, then the case fatality ratio will be lower.'' Edmunds went on to say, ''What you can safely say ['...] is that if you divide the number of reported deaths by the number of reported cases [to get the case fatality ratio], you will almost certainly get the wrong answer.'' The WHO under Tedros seems to be erring on the side of spreading panic.
The WHO and the USA CDC some years ago changed the definition of deaths from seasonal flu to ''deaths of flu or pneumonia.'' The CDC calculates only an approximate flu death count by totaling death certificates processed that list ''pneumonia or influenza'' as the underlying or contributing cause of death. The CDC estimates 45 Million Flu Cases, and 61,000 what they deftly call ''Flu-Associated'' Deaths in 2017-2018 US Flu Season. How many were elderly with pneumonia or other lung diseases is unclear. Naturally the numbers help spread fear and sell seasonal flu vaccines whose positive effect is anything but proven. Worldwide, the CDC estimated in a study in 2017 that, ''between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide die from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses each year.''
In China alone the estimate for seasonal influenza-associated (including pneumonia) deaths was about 300,000 in 2018. Note that 3,000 corona-attributed deaths, as tragic as it is, is but 1% of the ''normal'' annual deaths from lung-related illnesses in China, and because of the mixed or changing China accounting, it is not clear how many of the 3,000 China deaths are even from seasonal pneumonia. But owing to dramatic videos, not verifiable, of people allegedly dropping dead on the streets in China, with no proof, or of Wuhan hospitals filled in the corridors with body bags apparently of dead from COVID-19, much of the world is understandably anxious about this strange exogenous invader.
Amid what is clearly confusion among many well-meaning health officials and likely opportunism by Western vaccine makers like GlaxoSmithKline or Gilead and others, with alarming speed our world is being transformed in ways just months ago we could not have imagined.
Whatever has occurred inside China at this point it is almost impossible to say owing to conflicting reactions of the Beijing authorities and several changes in ways of counting COVID-19 cases. The question now is how the relevant authorities in the West will use this crisis. Here it is useful to go back to a highly relevant report published a decade ago by the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the world's leading backers of eugenics, and creators of GMO among other things.
The report in question has the bland title, ''Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development.'' It was published in May 2010 in cooperation with the Global Business Network of futurologist Peter Schwartz. The report contains various futurist scenarios developed by Schwartz and company. One scenario carries the intriguing title, ''LOCK STEP: A world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback.'' Here it gets interesting as in what some term predictive programming.
The Schwartz scenario states, ''In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009's H1N1, this new influenza strain '-- originating from wild geese '-- was extremely virulent and deadly. Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were quickly overwhelmed when the virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million in just seven months'...'' He continues, ''The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains. Even locally, normally bustling shops and office buildings sat empty for months, devoid of both employees and customers.'' This sounds eerily familiar.
Then the scenario gets very interesting: ''During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets. Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems '-- from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty '-- leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power.''
A relevant question is whether certain bad actors, and there are some in this world, are opportunistically using the widespread fears around the COVID-19 to advance an agenda of ''lock step'' top down social control, one that would include stark limits on travel, perhaps replacing of cash by ''sanitary'' electronic cash, mandatory vaccination even though the long term side effects are not proven safe, unlimited surveillance and the curtailing of personal freedoms such as political protests on the excuse it will allow ''identification of people who refuse to be tested or vaccinated,'' and countless other restrictions. Much of the Rockefeller 2010 scenario is already evident. Fear is never a good guide to sound reason.
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.''
Corey Feldman accuses Charlie Sheen of Corey Haim sexual abuse
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 09:24
March 10, 2020 | 12:14pm | Updated March 10, 2020 | 3:35pm
Corey Feldman claimed in his new documentary that Charlie Sheen sexually abused Corey Haim in the '80s.
Feldman, 48, alleged in ''(My) Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys'' '-- which premiered with technical issues in Los Angeles on Monday '-- that Haim confessed Sheen had raped him in 1986 during the filming of ''Lucas.'' Haim was 13 and Sheen was 19 at the time of filming.
Sheen, 54, has in the past vehemently denied all of Feldman's allegations and has reiterated his stance after the documentary came out.
''These sick, twisted and outlandish allegations never occurred. Period,'' Sheen said in a statement to Page Six via his publicist. ''I would urge everyone to consider the source and read what his mother Judy Haim has to say.''
Sheen's publicist also pointed us to emails sent to him from Judy which counter the accusations made by Feldman. In previous interviews, Judy has denied Feldman's claims about Sheen.
''My son never mentioned Charlie. We never talked about Charlie. It was all made up,'' she told Entertainment Tonight in 2017. ''If my son was here to hear all of this he would throw up.''
Meanwhile, Feldman alleges otherwise. ''This wasn't like a one-time thing he said in passing,'' Feldman, crying, said in the documentary about Haim (via EW). ''It wasn't like, 'Oh, by the way, this happened.' He went into great detail.''
''[Haim] told me, 'Charlie bent me over in between two trailers and put Crisco oil on my butt and raped me in broad daylight. Anybody could have walked by, anybody could have seen it.'''
Haim died from pneumonia in 2010 at the age of 38.
Other subjects in the Feldman-produced documentary claim Haim had told them about Sheen's alleged actions or indicate they had heard about them second-hand.
Feldman also once again calls out those who allegedly abused him: Jon Grissom, nightclub owner Alphy Hoffman and former talent manager Marty Weiss. He made previous claims about the accused in 2017.
Grissom reportedly denied the allegations in a YouTube comment, writing, ''I said it's not me I'm sick and tired of saying that when no one listens. So goddamnit I'm not repeating it anymore.''
Meanwhile, Weiss also denied Feldman's allegations on Twitter last month, tweeting, ''Corey Haim would never grandstand sex abuse for profit nor would he have thrown innocent names around due to personal vendettas. The fact that Feldman uses me to convince ppl that CH was a sex fiend is horrific and exposes both his jealousy of Haim & CF's friendship with me.''
IRS increasingly likely to push back April 15 tax deadline due to coronavirus.
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 09:18
The Treasury Department is looking increasingly likely to extend the April 15 tax deadline in an effort to provide some potential relief to American households and businesses that are facing economic uncertainty due to the spread of coronavirus. How any potential extension would work remains to be seen and the Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration is still working out who might be eligible for any extension and how long it would be. The government could also potentially waive penalties and interest for late payments for taxpayers filing late.
Delaying tax payments as a form of stimulus would require the Treasury to borrow in the immediate term to offer what amounts to a short-term loan to American taxpayers as they navigate the coronavirus economy that could spiral into recession. The government budgets and spends based on estimated revenues collected largely through taxes. Last April, for instance, Americans paid $333 billion alone in individual income taxes. Through the end of February, the IRS had received less than half the expected returns to be filed. The IRS has the authority to amend the filing deadlines in cases in specific cases; delaying tax deadlines has been common practice in response to natural disasters.
Moving back tax day could also have logistical benefits, the New York Times notes, as the federal work force is expected to be working remotely for an unspecified period of time. Tax season often requires a range of face-to-face contacts—with the IRS and tax professionals—that could also pose risks if the virus continues to spread as it has in other countries around the world.
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Text - S.3398 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): EARN IT Act of 2020 | | Library of Congress
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:58
There is one version of the bill.
S. 3398
To establish a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention, and for other purposes.
Mr. Graham (for himself, Mr. Blumenthal , Mr. Cramer , Mrs. Feinstein , Mr. Hawley , Mr. Jones , Mr. Casey , Mr. Whitehouse , Mr. Durbin , and Ms. Ernst ) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To establish a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of theUnited States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. Short title .
This Act may be cited as the ''Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2020'' or the ''EARN IT Act of 2020''.
SEC. 2. Definitions .
In this Act:
(1) C OMMISSION.'--The term ''Commission'' means the National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention.
(2) I NTERACTIVE COMPUTER SERVICE.'--The term ''interactive computer service'' has the meaning given the term in section 230(f)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(f)(2)).
SEC. 3. National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention .
(a) Establishment .'--There is established a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention.
(b) Purpose .'--The purpose of the Commission is to develop recommended best practices that providers of interactive computer services may choose to implement to prevent, reduce, and respond to the online sexual exploitation of children, including the enticement, grooming, sex trafficking, and sexual abuse of children and the proliferation of online child sexual abuse material.
(c) Membership .'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--The Commission shall be composed of 19 members.
(B) A GENCY HEADS.'--The following Federal officials shall serve as members of the Commission:
(i) The Attorney General or his or her representative.
(ii) The Secretary of Homeland Security or his or her representative.
(iii) The Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission or his or her representative.
(C) O THER MEMBERS.'--Of the remaining 16 members of the Commission'--
(i) 4 shall be appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, of whom'--
(I) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(A);
(II) 1 shall have the qualifications required under paragraph (2)(B);
(III) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(C); and
(IV) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(D);
(ii) 4 shall be appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, of whom'--
(I) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(A);
(II) 1 shall have the qualifications required under paragraph (2)(B);
(III) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(C); and
(IV) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(D);
(iii) 4 shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, of whom'--
(I) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(A);
(II) 1 shall have the qualifications required under paragraph (2)(B);
(III) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(C); and
(IV) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(D); and
(iv) 4 shall be appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, of whom'--
(I) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(A);
(II) 1 shall have the qualifications required under paragraph (2)(B);
(III) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(C); and
(IV) 1 shall have the qualifications required under clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (2)(D).
(2) Q UALIFICATIONS.'--Of the 16 members of the Commission appointed under paragraph (1)(C)'--
(A) 4 shall have current experience in investigating online child sexual exploitation crimes, of whom'--
(i) 2 shall have such experience in a law enforcement capacity; and
(ii) 2 shall have such experience in a prosecutorial capacity;
(B) 4 shall be survivors of online child sexual exploitation, or have current experience in providing services for victims of online child sexual exploitation in a non-governmental capacity;
(C) (i) 2 shall have current experience in matters related to constitutional law, consumer protection, or privacy; and
(ii) 2 shall have current experience in computer science or software engineering related to matters of cryptography, data security, or artificial intelligence in a non-governmental capacity; and
(D) 4 shall be individuals who each currently work for an interactive computer service that is unrelated to each other interactive computer service represented under this subparagraph, representing diverse types of businesses and areas of professional expertise, of whom'--
(i) 2 shall have current experience in addressing online child sexual exploitation and promoting child safety at an interactive computer service with not less than 30,000,000 registered monthly users in the United States; and
(ii) 2 shall have current experience in addressing online child sexual exploitation and promoting child safety at an interactive computer service with less than 10,000,000 registered monthly users in the United States.
(3) D ATE.'--The initial appointments of members to the Commission under paragraph (1)(C) shall be made not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act.
(d) Period of appointment; vacancies .'--
(1) P ERIOD OF APPOINTMENT.'--A member of the Commission shall be appointed for a term of 5 years.
(2) V ACANCIES.'--
(A) E FFECT ON COMMISSION.'--Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect the powers of the Commission.
(B) F ILLING OF VACANCIES.'--A vacancy in the Commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment under subsection (c)(1).
(e) Initial meeting .'--The Commission shall hold the first meeting of the Commission not later than 60 days after the date on which a majority of the members of the Commission have been appointed.
(f) Chairperson .'--The Attorney General or his or her representative shall serve as the Chairperson of the Commission.
(g) Quorum .'--A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number of members may hold a meeting.
(h) Meetings .'--The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairperson.
(i) Authority of Commission .'--The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out this section and section 4, hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the Commission considers appropriate.
(j) Information from Federal agencies .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--The Commission may secure directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out this section and section 4.
(2) F URNISHING INFORMATION.'--Upon request of the Chairperson of the Commission for information under paragraph (1), the head of a Federal department or agency shall furnish the information to the Commission, unless the information is subject to an active investigation or otherwise privileged or confidential.
(k) Travel expenses .'--A member of the Commission shall serve without compensation, but shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from the home or regular places of business of the member in the performance of services for the Commission.
(l) Duration .'--Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Commission.
SEC. 4. Duties of the Commission .
(a) Recommended best practices .'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Not later than 18 months after the date on which a majority of the members of the Commission required to be appointed under section 3(c)(1)(C) have been so appointed, the Commission shall develop and submit to the Attorney General recommended best practices that providers of interactive computer services may choose to engage in to prevent, reduce, and respond to the online sexual exploitation of children, including the enticement, grooming, sex trafficking, and sexual abuse of children and the proliferation of online child sexual abuse material.
(i) A LTERNATIVE BEST PRACTICES.'--The best practices required to be developed and submitted under subparagraph (A) shall include alternatives that take into consideration'--
(I) the size, type of product, and business model of a provider of an interactive computer service;
(II) whether an interactive computer service'--
(aa) is made available to the public;
(bb) is primarily responsible for the transmission and storage of information on behalf of other interactive computer services; or
(cc) provides the capability to transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all internet endpoints on behalf of a consumer; and
(III) whether a type of product, business model, product design, or other factors related to the provision of an interactive computer service could make a product or service susceptible to the use and facilitation of online child sexual exploitation.
(ii) S COPE.'--Notwithstanding paragraph (3), the alternatives described in clause (i) of this subparagraph may exclude certain matters required to be addressed under paragraph (3), as the Commission determines appropriate based on the nature of particular products or services or other factors relevant to the purposes of this Act.
(2) S UPPORT REQUIREMENT.'--The Commission may only recommend the best practices under paragraph (1) if not fewer than 14 members of the Commission support the best practices.
(3) M ATTERS ADDRESSED.'--The matters addressed by the recommended best practices developed and submitted by the Commission under paragraph (1) shall include'--
(A) preventing, identifying, disrupting, and reporting child sexual exploitation;
(B) coordinating with non-profit organizations and other providers of interactive computer services to preserve, remove from view, and report child sexual exploitation;
(C) retaining child sexual exploitation content and related user identification and location data;
(D) receiving and triaging reports of child sexual exploitation by users of interactive computer services, including self-reporting;
(E) implementing a standard rating and categorization system to identify the type and severity of child sexual abuse material;
(F) training and supporting content moderators who review child sexual exploitation content for the purposes of preventing and disrupting online child sexual exploitation;
(G) preparing and issuing transparency reports, including disclosures in terms of service, relating to identifying, categorizing, and reporting child sexual exploitation and efforts to prevent and disrupt online child sexual exploitation;
(H) coordinating with voluntary initiatives offered among and to providers of interactive computer services relating to identifying, categorizing, and reporting child sexual exploitation;
(I) employing age rating and age gating systems to reduce child sexual exploitation;
(J) offering parental control products that enable customers to limit the types of websites, social media platforms, and internet content that are accessible to children; and
(K) contractual and operational practices to ensure third parties, contractors, and affiliates comply with the best practices.
(4) R ELEVANT CONSIDERATIONS.'--In developing best practices under paragraph (1), the Commission shall consider'--
(A) the cost and technical limitations of implementing the best practices;
(B) the impact on competition, product and service quality, data security, and privacy;
(C) the impact on the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute child sexual exploitation and rescue victims; and
(D) the current state of technology.
(5) P ERIODIC UPDATES.'--Not less frequently than once every 5 years, the Commission shall update and resubmit to the Attorney General recommended best practices under paragraph (1).
(A) I N GENERAL.'--If, with respect to recommended best practices submitted under paragraph (1), the best practices are denied under subsection (b)(1)(A) or a bill that contains the best practices is not enacted under the expedited procedures under subsection (c), the Commission may resubmit recommended best practices to the Attorney General until the applicable deadline.
(i) I NITIAL BEST PRACTICES.'--For purposes of subparagraph (A), in the case of resubmission of initial recommended best practices that were submitted under paragraph (1) before any bill that contains best practices has been enacted under the expedited procedures under subsection (c), the applicable deadline is the later of'--
(I) the deadline described in paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection; or
(II) the date that is 60 days after, as applicable'--
(aa) the date of the denial; or
(bb) the last day on which a bill containing the best practices could have been enacted under the expedited procedures under subsection (c).
(ii) U PDATED BEST PRACTICES.'--For purposes of subparagraph (A), in the case of resubmission of updated recommended best practices that were submitted under paragraph (1) in accordance with paragraph (5), the applicable deadline is the later of'--
(I) the deadline described in paragraph (5); or
(II) the date that is 60 days after, as applicable'--
(aa) the date of the denial; or
(bb) the last day on which a bill containing the best practices could have been enacted under the expedited procedures under subsection (c).
(b) Publication of best practices .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--Not later than 30 days after the date on which the Commission submits recommended best practices under subsection (a), including updated recommended best practices under paragraph (5) of that subsection, the Attorney General, upon agreement with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, shall'--
(A) approve or deny the recommended best practices; and
(B) if approved'--
(i) publish the recommended best practices on the website of the Department of Justice and in the Federal Register; and
(ii) submit the recommended best practices to Congress, including to'--
(I) the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; and
(II) the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives.
(2) C ONSIDERATIONS.'--In determining whether to approve or deny recommended best practices under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall consider'--
(A) the purpose of the Commission, as set forth in section 3(b); and
(B) the relevant considerations set forth in subsection (a)(4) of this section.
(3) W RITTEN FINDINGS.'--Any denial of the recommended best practices by the Attorney General under paragraph (1) shall be accompanied by public written findings setting forth the basis for, and reasons supporting, the denial.
(c) Congressional approval .'--
(1) D EFINITION.'--In this subsection, the term ''covered bill'' means a bill that'--
(A) contains only the recommended best practices that have been submitted to Congress under subsection (b), in their entirety; and
(B) is introduced under paragraph (3) of this subsection.
(2) R ULES OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATE.'--This subsection is enacted by Congress'--
(A) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, and as such is deemed a part of the rules of each House, respectively, but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be followed in that House in the case of a covered bill, and it supersedes other rules only to the extent that it is inconsistent with such rules; and
(B) with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change the rules (so far as relating to the procedure of that House) in the same manner, and to the same extent, as in the case of any other rule of that House.
(A) I N GENERAL.'--On the day on which recommended best practices are submitted to Congress under subsection (b), a covered bill containing those best practices shall be introduced'--
(i) in the Senate by'--
(I) the majority leader of the Senate, for himself or herself and the minority leader of the Senate; or
(II) Members of the Senate designated by the majority leader and minority leader of the Senate; and
(ii) in the House of Representatives by'--
(I) the majority leader of the House of Representatives, for himself or herself and the minority leader of the House of the House of Representatives; or
(II) Members of the House of Representatives designated by the majority leader and minority leader of the House of the House of Representatives.
(B) N OT IN SESSION.'--If either House is not in session on the day on which recommended best practices are submitted to Congress under subsection (b), a covered bill containing the best practices shall be introduced in that House, as provided in subparagraph (A), on the first day thereafter on which that House is in session.
(C) R EFERRAL.'--A covered bill introduced under this paragraph shall be referred by the Presiding Officers of the respective Houses to the appropriate committee, or, in the case of a bill containing provisions within the jurisdiction of 2 or more committees, jointly to such committees for consideration of those provisions within their respective jurisdictions.
(A) R EPORTING AND DISCHARGE.'--Any committee of the House of Representatives to which a covered bill is referred shall report it to the House not later than 45 calendar days after the date of introduction under paragraph (3). If a committee fails to report the covered bill within that period, the committee shall be discharged from further consideration of the covered bill and the covered bill shall be referred to the appropriate calendar.
(B) P ROCEEDING TO CONSIDERATION.'--After each committee authorized to consider a covered bill reports it to the House or has been discharged from its consideration, it shall be in order, not later than 60 calendar days after the date of introduction under paragraph (3), to move to proceed to consider the covered bill in the House. All points of order against the motion are waived. Such a motion shall not be in order after the House has disposed of a motion to proceed on the covered bill. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the motion to its adoption without intervening motion. The motion shall not be debatable. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is disposed of shall not be in order.
(C) C ONSIDERATION.'--The covered bill shall be considered as read. All points of order against the covered bill and against its consideration are waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the covered bill to its passage without intervening motion except 10 hours of debate equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent. A motion to reconsider the vote on passage of the covered bill shall not be in order.
(A) R EPORTING AND DISCHARGE.'--Any committee of the Senate to which a covered bill is referred shall report it to the Senate not later than 45 calendar days after the date of introduction under paragraph (3). If a committee fails to report the covered bill within that period, the committee shall be discharged from further consideration of the covered bill and the covered bill shall be referred to the appropriate calendar.
(B) P LACEMENT ON CALENDAR.'--After each committee authorized to consider a covered bill reports it to the Senate or has been discharged from its consideration, it shall be in order, not later than 60 calendar days after the date of introduction under paragraph (3) of this subsection, to place the covered bill on the calendar.
(i) I N GENERAL.'--Notwithstanding Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, it is in order at any time during the period beginning on the 60th day after the date on which the covered bill was introduced under paragraph (3) and ending on the 65th day after the date on which the covered bill was introduced under that paragraph (even though a previous motion to the same effect has been disagreed to) to move to proceed to the consideration of the covered bill, and all points of order against the covered bill (and against consideration of the covered bill) are waived. The motion to proceed is not debatable. The motion is not subject to a motion to postpone. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to shall not be in order. If a motion to proceed to the consideration of the covered bill is agreed to, the covered bill shall remain the unfinished business until disposed of.
(ii) D EBATE.'--Debate on the covered bill, and on all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith, shall be limited to not more than 10 hours, which shall be divided equally between the majority and minority leaders or their designees. A motion further to limit debate is in order and not debatable. An amendment to, or a motion to postpone, or a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business, or a motion to recommit the covered bill is not in order.
(iii) V OTE ON PASSAGE.'--The vote on passage shall occur immediately following the conclusion of the debate on a covered bill, and a single quorum call at the conclusion of the debate if requested in accordance with the rules of the Senate.
(iv) R ULINGS OF THE CHAIR ON PROCEDURE.'--Appeals from the decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the rules of the Senate, as the case may be, to the procedure relating to a covered bill shall be decided without debate.
(A) C OORDINATION WITH ACTION BY OTHER HOUSE.'--If, before the passage by one House of a covered bill of that House, that House receives from the other House a covered bill, then the following procedures shall apply:
(i) The covered bill of the other House shall not be referred to a committee.
(ii) With respect to a covered bill of the House receiving the bill'--
(I) the procedure in that House shall be the same as if no covered bill had been received from the other House; but
(II) the vote on passage shall be on the covered bill of the other House.
(B) T REATMENT OF COVERED BILL OF OTHER HOUSE.'--If one House fails to introduce or consider a covered bill under this section, the covered bill of the other House shall be entitled to expedited floor procedures under this section.
(C) T REATMENT OF COMPANION MEASURES.'--If, following passage of the covered bill in the Senate, the Senate then receives the companion measure from the House of Representatives, the companion measure shall not be debatable.
(d) Certification of best practices .'--Not later than 1 year after the date on which a bill that contains recommended best practices submitted to Congress under subsection (b) is enacted under the expedited procedures under subsection (c), and annually thereafter, an officer of a provider of an interactive computer service may submit a written certification to the Attorney General stating that the provider'--
(1) has conducted a thorough review of the implementation and operation of the best practices; and
(2) has a reasonable basis to conclude that review does not reveal any material non-compliance with the requirements of the best practices.
(e) Publication of certified interactive computer service providers .'--The Attorney General shall maintain on the website of the Department of Justice a public list of each provider of an interactive computer service for which a certification has been submitted under subsection (d).
(f) Civil investigative demands .'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Whenever the Attorney General has reason to believe that an officer of a provider of an interactive computer service has filed a false certification under subsection (d), the Attorney General may issue in writing, and cause to be served upon the provider, a civil investigative demand requiring the provider to'--
(i) produce any documentary material relevant to such certification for inspection and copying;
(ii) answer in writing written interrogatories with respect to such documentary material;
(iii) give oral testimony concerning such documentary material; or
(iv) furnish any combination of such material, answers, or testimony.
(B) S ERVICE.'--If a civil investigative demand issued under subparagraph (A) is an express demand for any product of discovery, the Attorney General shall'--
(i) cause to be served, in any manner authorized under section 3733 of title 31, United States Code, a copy of the demand upon the person from whom the discovery was obtained; and
(ii) notify the person to whom the demand is issued of the date on which the copy was served.
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Each civil investigative demand issued under paragraph (1) shall'--
(i) state the nature of the Attorney General's belief that a false certification has been filed under subsection (d);
(ii) if the demand is for production of documentary material'--
(I) describe the class or classes of documentary material to be produced thereunder with such definiteness and certainty as to permit such material to be fairly identified;
(II) prescribe a return date or dates that will provide a reasonable period of time within which the material so demanded may be assembled and made available for inspection and copying; and
(III) identify the custodian to whom the material shall be made available;
(iii) if the demand is for answers to written interrogatories'--
(I) propound with definiteness and certainty the written interrogatories to be answered;
(II) prescribe a date or dates at which time answers to written interrogatories shall be submitted; and
(III) identify the custodian to whom the answers shall be submitted; and
(iv) if the demand is for the giving of oral testimony'--
(I) prescribe a date, time, and place at which oral testimony shall be commenced; and
(II) identify'--
(aa) an investigator who shall conduct the examination; and
(bb) the custodian to whom the transcript of the examination shall be submitted.
(B) R ETURN DATE FOR PRODUCT OF DISCOVERY.'--Any civil investigative demand issued under paragraph (1) that is an express demand for any product of discovery shall not be returned or returnable until 20 days after a copy of the demand has been served upon the person from whom the discovery was obtained.
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Subject to subparagraph (B), subsections (b) through (l) of section 3733 of title 31, United States Code, shall apply with respect to a civil investigative demand issued under paragraph (1) of this subsection in the same manner as those subsections apply to a civil investigative demand issued under subsection (a) of such section 3733.
(B) F ALSE CLAIMS REFERENCES.'--For purposes of subparagraph (A), a reference in section 3733 of title 31, United States Code, to'--
(i) a violation of a false claims law shall be deemed to be a reference to the filing of a false certification under subsection (d) of this section;
(ii) a false claims law investigation shall be deemed to be a reference to an inquiry into whether any person is or has been engaged in filing a false certification under subsection (d) of this section; and
(iii) a false claims law investigator shall be deemed to be a reference to'--
(I) any attorney or investigator employed by the Department of Justice who is charged with the duty of enforcing or carrying into effect this section; or
(II) any officer or employee of the United States acting under the direction and supervision of an attorney or investigator described in subclause (I) in connection with an inquiry into whether any person is or has been engaged in filing a false certification under subsection (d) of this section.
SEC. 5. Enforcement .
(a) Offense .'--It shall be unlawful for an officer of a provider of an interactive computer service to knowingly submit a written certification under section 4(d) that contains a false statement.
(b) Criminal penalties .'--Any person who violates subsection (a) shall be fined in accordance with title 18, United States Code, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.
SEC. 6. Earning immunity .
(a) In general .'--Section 230(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
''(A) L IABILITY OF PROVIDERS OF INTERACTIVE COMPUTER SERVICE.'--Nothing in this section (other than subsection (c)(2)(A)) shall be construed to impair or limit'--
''(i) any claim in a civil action brought against a provider of an interactive computer service under section 2255 of title 18, United States Code, if the conduct underlying the claim'--
''(I) constitutes a violation of section 2252 or section 2252A of that title; or
''(II) is considered a violation of section 2252 or section 2252A of that title by operation of subsection (a)(2) of such section 2255;
''(ii) any charge in a criminal prosecution brought against a provider of an interactive computer service under State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute a violation of section 2252 or section 2252A of title 18, United States Code; or
''(iii) any claim in a civil action brought against a provider of an interactive computer service under State law if the conduct underlying the claim'--
''(I) would constitute a violation of section 2252 or section 2252A of title 18, United States Code; or
''(II) would be considered a violation of section 2252 or section 2252A of title 18, United States Code, for purposes of subsection (a)(1) of section 2255 of that title, by operation of subsection (a)(2) of such section 2255.
''(B) S AFE HARBOR.'--Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to a claim in a civil action or charge in a State criminal prosecution brought against a provider of an interactive computer service if'--
''(i) an officer of the provider has elected to certify to the Attorney General under section 4(d) of the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2020 that the provider has implemented, and is in compliance with, the child sexual exploitation prevention best practices contained in a law enacted under the expedited procedures under section 4(c) of such Act and such certification was in force at the time of any alleged acts or omissions that are the subject of a claim in a civil action or charge in a State criminal prosecution brought against such provider; or
''(ii) the provider has implemented reasonable measures relating to the matters described in section 4(a)(3) of the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2020, subject to the exceptions authorized under section 4(a)(1)(B)(ii) of that Act, to prevent the use of the interactive computer service for the exploitation of minors.''.
(b) Mens rea for civil suits .'--Section 2255 of title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) by redesignating subsection (a) as paragraph (1) and adjusting the margin accordingly;
(2) by inserting before paragraph (1), as so designated, the following:''(a) Right of action .'--''; and
(3) in subsection (a), as so designated, by adding at the end the following:
''(2) C IVIL REMEDY FOR CERTAIN ACTIVITIES RELATING TO MATERIAL INVOLVING THE SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF MINORS.'--Conduct by a provider of an interactive computer service (as defined in section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230)) that would violate section 2252 or section 2252A if that section were applied by substituting 'recklessly' for 'knowingly' each place that term appears shall be considered a violation of section 2252 or section 2252A for purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection.''.
(c) Effective date .'--The amendments made by this section shall'--
(1) take effect on the earlier of'--
(A) the date that is 1 year after the date on which a bill that contains best practices submitted under section 4(b) is enacted under the expedited procedures under section 4(c); or
(B) the date that is 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act; and
(2) only apply to a claim in a civil action or charge in a criminal prosecution brought against a provider of an interactive computer service if the alleged acts or omissions occurred after the effective date described in paragraph (1).
SEC. 7. Use of term ''child sexual abuse material'' .
(a) Sense of Congress .'--It is the sense of Congress that the term ''child sexual abuse material'' has the same legal meaning as the term ''child pornography'', as that term was used in Federal statutes and case law before the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) Amendments .'--
(1) T ITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE.'--Chapter 65 of title 5, United States Code, is amended'--
(A) in section 6502(a)(2)(B), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(B) in section 6504(c)(2)(F), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(2) H OMELAND SECURITY ACT OF 2002.'--The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101 et seq.) is amended'--
(A) in section 307(b)(3)(D) (6 U.S.C. 187(b)(3)(D)), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(B) in section 890A (6 U.S.C. 473)'--
(i) in subsection (b)(2)(A)(ii), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(ii) in subsection (e)(3)(B)(ii), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(3) I MMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT.'--Section 101(a)(43)(I) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(I)) is amended by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(4) S MALL BUSINESS JOBS ACT OF 2010.'--Section 3011(c) of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (12 U.S.C. 5710(c)) is amended by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(5) B ROADBAND DATA IMPROVEMENT ACT.'--Section 214(a)(2) of the Broadband Data Improvement Act (15 U.S.C. 6554(a)(2)) is amended by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(6) C AN-SPAM ACT OF 2003.'--Section 4(b)(2)(B) of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C. 7703(b)(2)(B)) is amended by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(7) T ITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE.'--Title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(A) in section 1956(c)(7)(D), by striking ''child pornography'' each place the term appears and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(B) in chapter 110'--
(i) in section 2251(e), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(ii) in section 2252(b)'--
(I) in paragraph (1), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(II) in paragraph (2), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(iii) in section 2252A'--
(I) in the section heading, by striking '' child pornography '' and inserting '' child sexual abuse material '';
(II) in subsection (a)'--
(aa) in paragraph (1), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(bb) in paragraph (2)'--
(AA) in subparagraph (A), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(BB) in subparagraph (B), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(cc) in paragraph (3), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(dd) in paragraph (4)'--
(AA) in subparagraph (A), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(BB) in subparagraph (B), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(ee) in paragraph (5)'--
(AA) in subparagraph (A), by striking ''an image of child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(BB) in subparagraph (B), by striking ''an image of child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(ff) in paragraph (7)'--
(AA) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(BB) by striking the period at the end and inserting a comma;
(III) in subsection (b)'--
(aa) in paragraph (1), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(bb) in paragraph (2), by striking ''child pornography'' each place the term appears and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(IV) in subsection (c)'--
(aa) in paragraph (1)(A), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(bb) in paragraph (2), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(cc) in the undesignated matter following paragraph (2), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(V) in subsection (d)(1), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(VI) in subsection (e), by striking ''child pornography'' each place the term appears and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(iv) in section 2256(8)'--
(I) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(II) by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon;
(v) in section 2257A(h)'--
(I) in paragraph (1), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(II) in paragraph (2), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(vi) in section 2258A'--
(I) in subsection (a)(2)'--
(aa) in subparagraph (A), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(bb) in subparagraph (B), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(II) in subsection (b)'--
(aa) in paragraph (4)'--
(AA) in the paragraph heading, by striking '' child pornography '' and inserting '' child sexual abuse material ''; and
(BB) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(bb) in paragraph (5), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(III) in subsection (g)(2)(B), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(vii) in section 2258C'--
(I) in the section heading, by striking '' child pornography '' and inserting '' child sexual abuse material '';
(II) in subsection (a)'--
(aa) in paragraph (2), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(bb) in paragraph (3), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(III) in subsection (d), by striking ''child pornography visual depiction'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material visual depiction''; and
(IV) in subsection (e), by striking ''child pornography visual depiction'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material visual depiction'';
(viii) in section 2259'--
(I) in paragraph (b)(2)'--
(aa) in the paragraph heading, by striking '' child pornography '' and inserting '' child sexual abuse material '';
(bb) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(cc) in subparagraph (A), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(II) in subsection (c)'--
(aa) in paragraph (1)'--
(AA) in the paragraph heading, by striking '' C hild pornography '' and inserting '' C hild sexual abuse material ''; and
(BB) by striking ''child pornography'' each place the term appears and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(bb) in paragraph (2), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking ''child pornography'' each place the term appears and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(cc) in paragraph (3)'--
(AA) in the paragraph heading, by striking '' child pornography '' and inserting '' child sexual abuse material ''; and
(BB) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(III) in subsection (d)(1)'--
(aa) in subparagraph (A)'--
(AA) by striking ''child pornography'' each place the term appears and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(BB) by striking ''Child Pornography'' and inserting ''Child Sexual Abuse Material'';
(bb) in subparagraph (B), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(cc) in subparagraph (C)'--
(AA) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(BB) by striking ''Child Pornography'' and inserting ''Child Sexual Abuse Material'';
(ix) in section 2259A'--
(I) in the section heading, by striking '' child pornography '' and inserting '' child sexual abuse material '';
(II) in subsection (a)'--
(aa) in paragraph (2), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(bb) in paragraph (3), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(III) in subsection (d)(2)(B), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(x) in section 2259B'--
(I) in the section heading, by striking '' Child pornography '' and inserting '' Child sexual abuse material '';
(II) in subsection (a), by striking ''Child Pornography'' each place the term appears and inserting ''Child Sexual Abuse Material'';
(III) in subsection (b), by striking ''Child Pornography'' each place the term appears and inserting ''Child Sexual Abuse Material'';
(IV) in subsection (c), by striking ''Child Pornography'' and inserting ''Child Sexual Abuse Material''; and
(V) in subsection (d), by striking ''Child Pornography'' and inserting ''Child Sexual Abuse Material'';
(C) in chapter 117'--
(i) in section 2423(f)(3), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(ii) in section 2427'--
(I) in the section heading, by striking '' child pornography '' and inserting '' child sexual abuse material ''; and
(II) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(D) in section 2516'--
(i) in paragraph (1)(c), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(ii) in paragraph (2), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(E) in section 3014(h)(3), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(F) in section 3509'--
(i) in subsection (a)(6), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(ii) in subsection (m)'--
(I) in the subsection heading, by striking '' child pornography '' and inserting '' child sexual abuse material '';
(II) in paragraph (1), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''constitutes a child sexual abuse material'';
(III) in paragraph (2), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''constitutes a child sexual abuse material''; and
(IV) in paragraph (3), by striking ''child pornography'' each place the term appears and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(G) in section 3632(d)(4)(D)(xlii), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(8) T ARIFF ACT OF 1930.'--Section 583(a)(2)(B) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1583(a)(2)(B)) is amended by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(9) E LEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT OF 1965.'--Section 4121 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7131) is amended'--
(A) in subsection (a)'--
(i) in paragraph (1)(A)(ii), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(ii) in paragraph (2)(A)(ii), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(B) in subsection (e)(5)'--
(i) in the paragraph heading, by striking '' C hild pornography '' and inserting '' C hild sexual abuse material ''; and
(ii) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(10) M USEUM AND LIBRARY SERVICES ACT.'--Section 224(f) of the Museum and Library Services Act (20 U.S.C. 9134(f)) is amended'--
(A) in paragraph (1)'--
(i) in subparagraph (A)(i)(II), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(ii) in subparagraph (B)(i)(II), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(B) in paragraph (7)(A)'--
(i) in the subparagraph heading, by striking '' C hild pornography '' and inserting '' C hild sexual abuse material ''; and
(ii) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(11) O MNIBUS CRIME CONTROL AND SAFE STREETS ACT OF 1968.'--Section 3031(b)(3) of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (34 U.S.C. 10721(b)(3)) is amended by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(12) J UVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION ACT OF 1974.'--Section 404(b)(1)(K) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (34 U.S.C. 11293(b)(1)(K)) is amended'--
(A) in clause (i)(I)(aa), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(B) in clause (ii), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(13) V ICTIMS OF CRIME ACT OF 1984.'--Section 1402(d)(6)(A) of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (34 U.S.C. 20101(d)(6)(A)) is amended by striking ''Child Pornography'' and inserting ''Child Sexual Abuse Material''.
(14) V ICTIMS OF CHILD ABUSE ACT OF 1990.'--The Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 (34 U.S.C. 20301 et seq.) is amended'--
(A) in section 212(4) (34 U.S.C. 20302(4)), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(B) in section 214(b) (34 U.S.C. 20304(b))'--
(i) in the subsection heading, by striking '' child pornography '' and inserting '' child sexual abuse material ''; and
(ii) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(C) in section 226(c)(6) (34 U.S.C. 20341(c)(6)), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(15) S EX OFFENDER REGISTRATION AND NOTIFICATION ACT.'--Section 111 of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (34 U.S.C. 20911) is amended'--
(A) in paragraph (3)(B)(iii), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(B) in paragraph (7)(G), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(16) A DAM WALSH CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY ACT OF 2006.'--Section 143(b)(3) of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (34 U.S.C. 20942(b)(3)) is amended by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(17) P ROTECT OUR CHILDREN ACT OF 2008.'--Section 105(e)(1)(C) of the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008 (34 U.S.C. 21115(e)(1)(C)) is amended by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(18) S OCIAL SECURITY ACT.'--Section 471(a)(20)(A)(i) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 671(a)(20)(A)(i)) is amended by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''offenses involving child sexual abuse material''.
(19) P RIVACY PROTECTION ACT OF 1980.'--Section 101 of the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. 2000aa) is amended'--
(A) in subsection (a)(1), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(B) in subsection (b)(1), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(20) C HILD CARE AND DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT ACT OF 1990.'--Section 658H(c)(1) of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858f(c)(1)) is amended'--
(A) in subparagraph (D)(iii), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''offenses relating to child sexual abuse material''; and
(B) in subparagraph (E), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(21) C OMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934.'--Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 201 et seq.) is amended'--
(A) in section 223 (47 U.S.C. 223)'--
(i) in subsection (a)(1)'--
(I) in subparagraph (A), in the undesignated matter following clause (ii), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''which constitutes child sexual abuse material''; and
(II) in subparagraph (B), in the undesignated matter following clause (ii), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''which constitutes child sexual abuse material''; and
(ii) in subsection (d)(1), in the undesignated matter following subparagraph (B), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''that constitutes child sexual abuse material''; and
(B) in section 254(h) (47 U.S.C. 254(h))'--
(i) in paragraph (5)'--
(I) in subparagraph (B)(i)(II), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(II) in subparagraph (C)(i)(II), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material'';
(ii) in paragraph (6)'--
(I) in subparagraph (B)(i)(II), by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(II) in subparagraph (C)(i)(II) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''; and
(iii) in paragraph (7)(F)'--
(I) in the subparagraph heading, by striking '' C hild pornography '' and inserting '' C hild sexual abuse material ''; and
(II) by striking ''child pornography'' and inserting ''child sexual abuse material''.
(c) Table of sections amendments .'--
(1) C HAPTER 110 OF TITLE 18.'--The table of sections for chapter 110 of title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(A) by striking the item relating to section 2252A and inserting the following:
''2252A. Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child sexual abuse material.'';
(B) by striking the item relating to section 2258C and inserting the following:
''2258C. Use to combat child sexual abuse material of technical elements relating to reports made to the CyberTipline.''; (C) by striking the item relating to section 2259A and inserting the following:
''2259A. Assessments in child sexual abuse material cases.'';
(D) by striking the item relating to section 2259B and inserting the following:
''2259B. Child sexual abuse materials victims reserve''.
(2) C HAPTER 117 OF TITLE 18.'--The table of sections for chapter 117 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 2427 and inserting the following: ''2427. Inclusion of offenses relating to child sexual abuse material in definition of sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.''.
SEC. 8. Modernizing the CyberTipline .
Chapter 110 of title 18, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in section 2258A'--
(A) in subsection (a)'--
(i) in paragraph (1)(B)(ii), by inserting after ''facts or circumstances'' the following: '', including any available facts or circumstances sufficient to identify and locate each minor and each involved individual,''; and
(ii) in paragraph (2)(A)'--
(I) by inserting ''1591 (if the violation involves a minor),'' before ''2251,''; and
(II) by striking ''or 2260'' and inserting ''2260, or 2422(b)'';
(B) in subsection (b)'--
(i) in paragraph (1)'--
(I) by inserting ''or location'' after ''identity''; and
(II) by striking ''other identifying information,'' and inserting ''other information which may identify or locate the involved individual,'';
(ii) by redesignating paragraphs (2) through (5) as paragraphs (3) through (6), respectively;
(iii) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:
''(2) I NFORMATION ABOUT THE INVOLVED MINOR.'--Information relating to the identity or location of any involved minor, which may, to the extent reasonably practicable, include the electronic mail address, Internet Protocol address, uniform resource locator, or any other information which may identify or locate any involved minor, including self-reported identifying information.''; and
(iv) by adding at the end the following:
''(7) F ORMATTING OF REPORTS.'--When in its discretion a provider voluntarily includes any content described in this subsection in a report to the CyberTipline, the provider shall use best efforts to ensure that the report conforms with the structure of the CyberTipline.''; and
(C) in subsection (d)(5)(B)'--
(i) in clause (i), by striking ''forwarded'' and inserting ''made available''; and
(ii) in clause (ii), by striking ''forwarded'' and inserting ''made available'';
(2) in section 2258B(a)'--
(A) by striking ''arising from the performance'' and inserting the following: '', may not be brought in any Federal or State court if the claim or charge arises from'--
''(1) the performance'';
(B) in paragraph (1), as so designated, by striking ''may not be brought in any Federal or State court.'' and inserting a semicolon; and
(C) by adding at the end the following:
''(2) compliance with a search warrant, court order, or other legal process; or
''(3) research voluntarily undertaken by the provider or domain name registrar using any material being preserved under section 2258A(h), if the research is only for the purpose of'--
''(A) improving or facilitating reporting under this section, section 2258A, or section 2258C; or
''(B) stopping the online sexual exploitation of children.''; and
(3) in section 2258C'--
(A) in the section heading, by striking '' the CyberTipline '' and inserting '' NCMEC '';
(B) in subsection (a)'--
(i) in paragraph (1)'--
(I) by striking ''NCMEC'' and inserting the following:
(II) in subparagraph (A), as so designated, by inserting ''or submission to the child victim identification program described in section 404(b)(1)(K)(ii) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (34 U.S.C. 11293(b)(1)(K)(ii))'' after ''CyberTipline report''; and
(III) by adding at the end the following:
''(B) P ROVISION TO NON-PROFIT ENTITIES.'--NCMEC may provide hash values or similar technical identifiers associated with visual depictions provided in a CyberTipline report or submission to the child victim identification program described in section 404(b)(1)(K)(ii) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (34 U.S.C. 11293(b)(1)(K)(ii)) to a non-profit entity for the sole and exclusive purpose of preventing and curtailing the online sexual exploitation of children.''; and
(ii) in paragraph (2)'--
(I) by inserting ''(A)'' after ''(1)'';
(II) by inserting ''or submission to the child victim identification program described in section 404(b)(1)(K)(ii) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (34 U.S.C. 11293(b)(1)(K)(ii))'' after ''CyberTipline report''; and
(III) by adding at the end the following: ''The elements authorized under paragraph (1)(B) shall be limited to hash values or similar technical identifiers associated with visual depictions provided in a CyberTipline report or submission to the child victim identification program described in section 404(b)(1)(K)(ii) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (34 U.S.C. 11293(b)(1)(K)(ii)).''; and
(C) in subsection (d), by inserting ''or to the child victim identification program described in section 404(b)(1)(K)(ii) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (34 U.S.C. 11293(b)(1)(K)(ii))'' after ''CyberTipline''.
SEC. 9. Rule of construction .
Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be construed to require a provider of an interactive computer service to search, screen, or scan for instances of online child sexual exploitation.
SEC. 10. Authorization of appropriations .
There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act.
SEC. 11. Severability .
If any provision of this Act or any amendment made by this Act, or any application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of the provisions of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provision or amendment to any other person or circumstance, shall not be affected.
Coronavirus: Cafes ban keep-cups due to virus risk |
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:34
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb worldwide, some Kiwi cafes are banning the use of 'keep-cups' in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus (file photo).
Some cafes throughout the country are no longer accepting reusable cups due to fears about coronavirus. '‹
McDonalds McCafes nationwide have suspended the use of keep-cups until further notice.
"The temporary suspension of reusable cups at McCafes is ... part of broader measures to protect staff and customers nationwide," a McDonald's spokesperson said.
The government is facing criticism for not moving fast enough on a package to help businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
Takapuna Beach Cafe on Auckland's North Shore has also temporarily scrapped accepting keep-cups as cases of the virus continue to climb worldwide.
READ MORE: * Coronavirus: Full coverage * Coronavirus: Jitters over long haul flights hit all major travel markets * Nelson teacher adapting to new normal of coronavirus in Hong Kong * Coronavirus: Government has plans in case of recession * The questions Kiwis have about coronavirus, as told to Google
Owner James Bryant told Stuff the move, implemented this week, was to reduce the risks attached to a cup changing hands multiple times.
Takapuna Beach Cafe has suspended the use of reusable coffee cups in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Customers who visited the cafe on Monday were reportedly told they could not use their keep cups as "staff could not guarantee [the cup] had been washed".
Bryant said he had taken a leaf out of Starbucks' book, which temporarily banned the use of personal cups or tumblers across its North American and United Kingdom stores last week.
It is not clear if local Starbucks cafes would follow suit '' Starbucks New Zealand did not respond to requests for comment.
Keep-cups were still in use at a central Auckland Starbucks on Wednesday.
The process around customers using keep-cups presented issues as "we just don't know the origin of the cup itself", Bryant said.
Staff could wash the cups, but it would make for a "long, slow process".
How sustainable are reusable coffee cups compared to a regular takeaway cup?
"At the end of the day, we want to provide the same quality coffee in the same amount of time and don't want to delay that."
Bryant said the move had affected a small group of regular customers, who had responded "positively".
Has your local cafe stopped accepting keep-cups? Email
Ted S. Warren
A sign posted at a Starbucks store in Washington in the United States.
Katy Ellis, the general manager of Mojo New Zealand, said signs were being put up in Mojo cafes around the country asking for customers to only bring in clean reusable cups.
The Coffee Club chain, which operates 66 cafes across the country, was still allowing customers to use keep cups but was looking at different operational procedures to ensure they were sanitary.
The Coffee Club New Zealand co-director Brad Jacobs told Stuff the company is working on different ways to ensure keep cups didn't come in contact with anything that remained in the cafe.
For example, some larger keep-cups could touch the handle of a coffee machine.
The Coffee Club NZ is looking at different vessels to move the shot of coffee to the keep-cup, to prevent the risk of contamination.
If a person came into the cafe with a visibly dirty keep-cup staff would wash it before making a coffee, but would not clean reusable cups as a matter of course, Jacobs said.
The Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said during a stand-up on Wednesday that he had a keep-cup himself.
However, "you shouldn't be going out with a keep-cup if you're symptomatic", he said.
Coronavirus: The Case for Canceling Everything - The Atlantic
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:32
Social distancing is the only way to stop the coronavirus. We must start immediately.
March 10, 2020 Contributing writer at The Atlantic
Spencer Platt / GettyW e don't yet know the full ramifications of the novel coronavirus. But three crucial facts have become clear in the first months of this extraordinary global event. And what they add up to is not an invocation to stay calm, as so many politicians around the globe are incessantly suggesting; it is, on the contrary, the case for changing our behavior in radical ways'--right now.
Read: You're likely to get the coronavirus
The first fact is that, at least in the initial stages, documented cases of COVID-19 seem to increase in exponential fashion. On the 23rd of January, China's Hubei province, which contains the city of Wuhan, had 444 confirmed COVID-19 cases. A week later, by the 30th of January, it had 4,903 cases. Another week later, by the 6th of February, it had 22,112.
The same story is now playing out in other countries around the world. Italy had 62 identified cases of COVID-19 on the 22nd of February. It had 888 cases by the 29th of February, and 4,636 by the 6th of March.
Because the United States has been extremely sluggish in testing patients for the coronavirus, the official tally of 604 likely represents a fraction of the real caseload. But even if we take this number at face value, it suggests that we should prepare to have up to 10 times as many cases a week from today, and up to 100 times as many cases two weeks from today.
The second fact is that this disease is deadlier than the flu, to which the honestly ill-informed and the wantonly irresponsible insist on comparing it. Early guesstimates, made before data were widely available, suggested that the fatality rate for the coronavirus might wind up being about 1 percent. If that guess proves true, the coronavirus is 10 times as deadly as the flu.
But there is reason to fear that the fatality rate could be much higher. According to the World Health Organization, the current case fatality rate'--a common measure of what portion of confirmed patients die from a particular disease'--stands at 3.4 percent. This figure could be an overstatement, because mild cases of the disease are less likely to be diagnosed. Or it could be an understatement, because many patients have already been diagnosed with the virus but have not yet recovered (and may still die).
Juliette Kayyem: The U.S. isn't prepared for what's about to happen
When the coronavirus first spread to South Korea, many observers pointed to the comparatively low death rates in the country to justify undue optimism. In countries with highly developed medical systems, they claimed, a smaller portion of patients would die. But while more than half of all diagnosed patients in China have now been cured, most South Korean patients are still in the throes of the disease. Of the 7,478 confirmed cases, only 118 have recovered; the low death rate may yet rise.
Meanwhile, the news from Italy, another country with a highly developed medical system, has so far been shockingly bad. In the affluent region of Lombardy, for example, there have been 7,375 confirmed cases of the virus as of Sunday. Of these patients, 622 had recovered, 366 had died, and the majority were still sick. Even under the highly implausible assumption that all of the still-sick make a full recovery, this would suggest a case fatality rate of 5 percent'--significantly higher, not lower, than in China.
The third fact is that so far only one measure has been effective against the coronavirus: extreme social distancing.
Before China canceled all public gatherings, asked most citizens to self-quarantine, and sealed off the most heavily affected region, the virus was spreading in exponential fashion. Once the government imposed social distancing, the number of new cases leveled off; now, at least according to official statistics, every day brings more news of existing patients who are healed than of patients who are newly infected.
Read: Here's who should be avoiding crowds right now
A few other countries have taken energetic steps to increase social distancing before the epidemic reached devastating proportions. In Singapore, for example, the government quickly canceled public events and installed medical stations to measure the body temperature of passersby while private companies handed out free hand sanitizer. As a result, the number of cases has grown much more slowly than in nearby countries.
T hese three facts imply a simple conclusion. The coronavirus could spread with frightening rapidity, overburdening our health-care system and claiming lives, until we adopt serious forms of social distancing.
This suggests that anyone in a position of power or authority, instead of downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus, should ask people to stay away from public places, cancel big gatherings, and restrict most forms of nonessential travel.
Read: The small stresses of keeping coronavirus-free
Given that most forms of social distancing will be useless if sick people cannot get treated'--or afford to stay away from work when they are sick'--the federal government should also take some additional steps to improve public health. It should take on the costs of medical treatment for the coronavirus, grant paid sick leave to stricken workers, promise not to deport undocumented immigrants who seek medical help, and invest in a rapid expansion of ICU facilities.
The past days suggest that this administration is unlikely to do these things well or quickly (although the administration signaled on Monday that it will seek relief for hourly workers, among other measures). Hence, the responsibility for social distancing now falls on decision makers at every level of society.
Do you head a sports team? Play your games in front of an empty stadium.
Are you organizing a conference? Postpone it until the fall.
Do you run a business? Tell your employees to work from home.
Are you the principal of a school or the president of a university? Move classes online before your students get sick and infect their frail relatives.
Are you running a presidential campaign? Cancel all rallies right now.
All of these decisions have real costs. Shutting down public schools in New York City, for example, would deprive tens of thousands of kids of urgently needed school meals. But the job of institutions and authorities is to mitigate those costs as much as humanly possible, not to use them as an excuse to put the public at risk of a deadly communicable disease.
Finally, the most important responsibility falls on each of us. It's hard to change our own behavior while the administration and the leaders of other important institutions send the social cue that we should go on as normal. But we must change our behavior anyway. If you feel even a little sick, for the love of your neighbor and everyone's grandpa, do not go to work.
W hen the influenza epidemic of 1918 infected a quarter of the U.S. population, killing tens of millions of people, seemingly small choices made the difference between life and death.
As the disease was spreading, Wilmer Krusen, Philadelphia's health commissioner, allowed a huge parade to take place on September 28; some 200,000 people marched. In the following days and weeks, the bodies piled up in the city's morgues. By the end of the season, 12,000 residents had died.
In St. Louis, a public-health commissioner named Max Starkloff decided to shut the city down. Ignoring the objections of influential businessmen, he closed the city's schools, bars, cinemas, and sporting events. Thanks to his bold and unpopular actions, the per capita fatality rate in St. Louis was half that of Philadelphia. (In total, roughly 1,700 people died from influenza in St Louis.)
In the coming days, thousands of people across the country will face the choice between becoming a Wilmer Krusen or a Max Starkloff.
In the moment, it will seem easier to follow Krusen's example. For a few days, while none of your peers are taking the same steps, moving classes online or canceling campaign events will seem profoundly odd. People are going to get angry. You will be ridiculed as an extremist or an alarmist. But it is still the right thing to do.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to
Yascha Mounk is a contributing writer at
The Atlantic, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and a senior adviser at Protect Democracy. He is the author of
The People vs. Democracy.
Chinese grandmother, 103, recovers from coronavirus after six-day treatment | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:29
Chinese grandmother, 103, recovers from coronavirus after being treated for less than a weekThe centenarian from Wuhan is two years older than the last record-holder, 101She was able to recover quickly as she didn't have underlying health conditionsThe news came after China's President Xi Jinping visited the epicentre yesterdayXi's visit is viewed as a sign that Beijing believes the outbreak is under controlThe coronavirus has killed at least 4,325 and infected nearly 120,000 worldwide By Emilia Jiang For Mailonline
Published: 07:09 EDT, 11 March 2020 | Updated: 07:11 EDT, 11 March 2020
A 103-year-old grandmother has recovered from the coronavirus following six-day treatment in Wuhan.
The centenarian, Zhang Guangfen, was discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon.
She is so far the oldest coronavirus patient to recover in China and two years older than the previous recorder-holder, 101.
Ms Zhang was cured within less than a week because 'she did not have many underlying health conditions', her doctor Zeng Yulan told the local press.
A 103-year-old grandmother has recovered from the coronavirus following six-day treatment i
The centenarian, Zhang Guangfen, is reportedly China's oldest coronavirus patient to recover
A video shows the former patient being escorted out of the hospital by a group of medical workers.
The grandmother was diagnosed with the deadly disease on March 1 at Liyuan Affiliated Hospital of Tongji Medical College in Wuhan, Hubei Province of central China.
She was in critical condition and could barely communicate with the medics when she was admitted to the hospital.
The picture shows the former patient being treated at Liyuan Affiliated Hospital of Tongji Medical College in Wuhan. She has been discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon
The nurses took turns to spoon-feed the patient and change diapers for her, said a matron, Liao Zhenhui, to local media Chutian Metropolis Daily.
Ms Zhang gradually recovered after being given round-the-clock care and nutrition therapy sessions, Liao added.
'The grandmother loved being complimented by the nurses,' the matron continued.
'She would smile and nod every time after I told her she looked pretty.'
Ms Zhang is reportedly the oldest coronavirus patient to recover in China and two years older than the previous recorder holder, 101. She is pictured being treated at the hospital
A group of medical workers are seen escorting Ms Zhang out of the hospital yesterday
Another centenarian who was infected with the coronavirus just after his 101st birthday has recovered after spending a week in hospital.
The former patient, known by his surname Dai, was discharged last week from Wuhan Third Hospital.
Mr Dai appeared to look 'very energetic' when he left the hospital, Li Lai, the matron told the press.
A Chinese centenarian who was infected with the coronavirus just after his 101st birthday has recovered after spending a week in hospital. The pictures show him leaving the hospital
'He often talked about his 92-year-old wife. He said he needed to get better soon so he could go home and take care of her,' Li Lai added.
The former patient is seen in a video telling a hazmat-clad medic his age while he was leaving the hospital.
The medic, who appears to be surprised, gives the centenarian a thumbs up after realising how old the patient is.
The picture shows a medic records a patient's condition at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, China
China has been encouraging its citizens to resume to normal after the country has seen a steady decline in its new cases.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan yesterday for the first time since the city emerged as the centre of the coronavirus epidemic in January - a major sign that Beijing believes the outbreak is under control.
The timing of Xi's visit indicates that China is ready to declare victory over the health crisis, which has killed at least 3,158 people in the nation and 4,325 worldwide, according to experts.
A picture released by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV through its official Weibo account shows President Xi delivering a speech at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan this morning
Globally, the novel coronavirus has infected nearing 120,000 people with a dozen of countries battling the worst outbreaks, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
There are 382 confirmed cases in the UK and six people have died. Many of the UK's 382 cases have been among recent visitors to Italy or from people who caught it inside the UK since Italy's outbreak began.
Health minister Nadine Dorries has today revealed one of her staff has now 'gone down' with coronavirus after she tested positive and went into self-isolation for the next fortnight as a MP she met last week was told by the NHS to stay at home.
Italy is one of the most-affected countries outside China, with a total of 10,149 cases, including 631 deaths. People are seen above wearing medical face masks on the streets of Rome
Globally, the novel coronavirus has infected nearing 120,000 people and killed at least 4,325
Media Watch: CNN under fire over coronavirus caption | Africanews
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:25
As part of our news analysis slot on Africanews, we will be updating a media watch page that deals with major issues of media ongoings across the continent.
It will cut across happenings in mainstream and across social media with also a special eye for fake news.
African governments battle coronavirus fake newsJournalists in Uganda demand colleague's freedomMedia freedoms in SomaliaUS embassy calls out fake news over Nigeria pastor's visaNigeria army arrests journalist, Burundi jails journalistsEthiopia ombudsman decries info blackoutAP racist photo, BBC 's Kobe '' LeBron mix-upInternet outage in TogoBeninese radio station fires all employees after suspensionBurundi arrest journalist over corruption reportGhana remembers slain anti-corruption investigatorCameraman assaulted in NigeriaEthiopian journalists associational dreamsJournalists detained in Uganda and MalawiWestern Ethiopia internet cut, Sudan bans pro-Bashir press Busted! How fake news crowned Ugandan politician world's 'most arrested' CNN Africa's coronavirus caption irks tweeps CNN Africa is under fire for a caption that some Twitter users see as offensive relative to the coronavirus coverage on Africa.
''Cases of coronavirus in Africa have been few and far between but the numbers are rising rapidly as Nigeria and South Africa on Monday announced new cases and the first death is recorded in Egypt,'' this caption to a story on how the virus was ''gaining foothold'' in Africa irked tweeps.
The article is an ''everything you need to know about COVID -19 in Africa'' article in which the authors are running updates on the epidemic.
What a shameful display of a sickening desire for Africa to be affected by # corona virus.One new case in Nigeria and CNN reports a 'rapid rise' . Shame on you CNN
'-- ZahrahMusa Ph.D (Zahrahmusa) March 10, 2020 Dear CNNAfrica, it is NOT right to say that Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly in Africa. According to this piece, a continent of 1.2 billion people has "reported nearly 100 cases". This is a case of misinformation.
'-- Ifeanyi Nsofor (ekemma) March 10, 2020 They are now championing propagation of Alternative Facts. ???
'-- OluwaloMuyiwa (@Olumuyeewah) March 10, 2020
Combating coronavirus fake news ''I would like to applaud the capability of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases for having acted very quickly and swiftly informing the Minister who in turn informed me,'' the words of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.
The president added on Thursday that he ordered that the information be made public via parliament in order to avoid the possible spread of fake news.
''Government will demonstrate seriousness in terms of dealing with this matter and we will continue to be transparent, at the same time we want South Africans not to panic because we will continue to ensure that we handle this matter with the necessary care and capability that it requires,'' he added.
Fake news has been a big deal in coronavirus coverage across Africa. Governments continue to provide timely information via official channels in order to combat the spread of fake news especially on social media.
Nigeria's disease control outfit and the Lagos State health outfit in the aftermath of its index case extensively has continually provided information on suspected cases, tests and test outcomes.
South Africa was caught in a fake news report on Friday when multiple portals reported that soldiers meant to help evacuation of citizens from China had refused to board the ''rescue aircraft.''
Kenya this week proposed a law that will criminalize the spread of fake news related to the disease. The authorities say they have enhanced monitoring of social media and other digital platforms to check the spread of misinformation about coronavirus.
Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said detectives from the cybercrime unit are analysing content shared online for investigation, arrest and prosecution of those culpable.
Kenya's Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes law, criminalises sharing of false, misleading or fictitious information and stipulates a fine of 5m Kenyan shillings ($50,000) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.
Journalists in Uganda demand colleague's freedomThe Foreign Correspondents Association of Uganda ( FCAU ) has called on authorities in the country to release their colleague Moses Bwayo, who was arrested while filming a documentary on opposition politician and musician Bobi Wine.
Bwayo has been charged with unlawful assembly and was on Wednesday remanded to the country's maximum-security prison in the capital Kampala.
A charge sheets seen by Reuters accuses Bwayo and eight others of assembling unlawfully near a police barracks in Kampala and singing songs ''subverting or promoting subversion of the government of Uganda.''
FCAU insists that authorities must not criminalise journalists for reporting on opposition political groups.
Bwayo's lawyer Caleb Alaka says a bail application application for his client was denied.
''I applied for bail '... but the magistrate decided to give a deaf ear to that and remanded him,'' Alaka told Reuters.
Bwayo was first arrested on Feb. 24 as he filmed a documentary about Bobi Wine who has declared his intentions to unseat president Yoweri Museveni.
He was freed on police bond, but when he returned on Wednesday as instructed, Bwayo was taken to court, charged and remanded, Alaka said.
Museveni's critics insist that cases like Bwayo's are part of an escalating clampdown on independent media and the opposition ahead of next year's presidential election. Government denies targeting opposition politicians or the media.
Liberia apologises for death of journalistLiberia's information minister Eugene Nagbe has apologised for the government's failure to investigate the alleged beating of an investigative journalist.
The beating which reportedly took place at a stadium where he had gone to do the commentary for a football match, is thought to have led to Zenu Miller's death 12 days ago.
Miller was a television show host who moderated discussions on national issues addressed by president George Weah's government.
Nagbe who apologised to local journalists as he signed a condolence book in Miller's memory, did not indicate whether government would still investigate the presidential security guards that assaulted the journalist three weeks ago.
Media freedoms in SomaliaHuman rights group Amnesty International said on Thursday that journalists in Somalia are ''under siege'', facing bombings, beatings, attacks and arrests.
The East African nation has long been seen as one of the riskiest places to work as a journalist, with the twin threats of reporting on conflict and draconian restrictions imposed by the authorities.
But now the situation is getting even worse, Amnesty said, in a report titled ''We live in perpetual fear'', detailing what it called a ''dramatic deterioration'' in press freedom.
''A surge in violent attacks, threats, harassment and intimidation of media workers is entrenching Somalia as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist,'' Amnesty said, calling on the government to take action.
Journalists face threats on all fronts, from attacks by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-allied Al-Shabaab fighters, to the internationally backed authorities.
However, Somalia's government rejected the report, calling it a ''fabrication'' and ''ludicrous allegations'', and accusing journalists who had fled the country of making up stories to secure asylum abroad.
''We find no concrete evidence worthy of accusing the Federal Government of Somalia of abuses against journalists,'' the Ministry of Information said in a statement.
At least eight journalists have been killed since 2017, and at least eight more fled the country fearing for their lives, the report said.
''From barely surviving explosive-wired cars, being shot, beaten up and arbitrarily arrested, journalists are working in horrifying conditions,'' said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty's head for eastern and southern Africa.
''This crackdown on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom is happening with impunity. The authorities hardly investigate or prosecute perpetrators of attacks on journalists,'' Muchena said.
Reporters Without Borders ranks Somalia 164th out of 180 countries on its global list of press freedom, with more than 43 journalists killed over the past decade.
US embassy busts visa refusal fake news The United States embassy in Nigeria on Friday called out a spreading report that it had denied visa to one of Nigeria's most followed pastors.
Multiple portals said David Oyedepo had been denied visa, a situation that led to a fracas at the embassy. The report according to the embassy was fake.
David Oyedepo is the founder and presiding Bishop of the megachurch Faith Tabernacle in Ota, Ogun State, southwestern Nigeria, and Living Faith Church Worldwide, also known as Winners' Chapel International.
Aside his work as a member of the clergy, he is author and businessman. As at 2011, Forbes said his net worth was at $150 million.
#FalseNews Alert! Be advised, the reports making the rounds about a visa being denied to Nigerian Bishop Oyedepo are false. If you have seen this manufactured item in the media, help defeat this #misinformation by communicating to everyone that it is completely false.
'-- U.S. Mission Nigeria (@USEmbassyAbuja) January 31, 2020 Nigeria army arrests journalist, Burundi jails quartet A tough day for journalists on January 30 as Burundi jailed four journalists over charges of undermining state security. After a three-month trial the privately owned Iwacu outlet said its journalists had been jailed two-and-half years each.
A lawyer representing them said, they will appeal the decision. They have 30 days to launch the appeal. The move has been slammed by press rights groups as a dark day for journalism in the country.
In Nigeria, Amnesty's local branch reported that soldiers had arrested a journalist working with the Daily Trust newspaper in Borno State capital Maiduguri.
''This shocking pattern of harassing journalists is unacceptable. Nigeria has an obligation to respect & protect the right to freedom of expression,'' Amnesty Nigeria added.
The Daily Trust said the arrest was connected to a story on military operations in the North East of the country; it said they had since been released. It is not the first time the army is rounding up journalists over stories of this kind.
Amnesty International condemns arrest of journalist Olatunji Omirin of daily_trust by HQNigerianArmy today in Maiduguri. This shocking pattern of harassing journalists is unacceptable. Nigeria has an obligation to respect & protect the right to freedom of expression.
'-- Amnesty Int. Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) January 30, 2020 Ethiopia ombudsman decries info blackout Ethiopian Institute of Ombudsman, a state-mandated body, says government offices are refusing to furnish journalists with information and by that restricting access to information.
Its latest report cited among others, the Tigray regional government's Communication Office, the Dembi Dollo University and Addis Ababa Housing Agency as main culprits.
The case of the university is believed to be connected with a student abduction crisis that has birthed protests in parts of the country demanding the Amhara region and federal governments to come clean on what has become known as #BringBackOurStudents campaign.
How racist AP photo 'helped' Ugandan activist, BBC 's footage blip A young Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate used Twitter to call out American news outlet AP after she was deliberately cropped out of a photo ostensibly being the only person of colour.
She was part of activists during last week's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She received lots of solidarity from the platform. The AP issued an official apology over the incident. Nakate's Twitter account has since been verified.
Solidarity for Ugandan climate activist over racist AP photo crop
'-- africanews (@africanews) January 25, 2020Meanwhile, the BBC was caught in a tight corner during coverage of the death of American basketball star, Kobe Bryant, who was killed along with others in a helicopter mishap on Saturday, January 25.
The BBC rolled footage of LeBron James whiles reporting Bryant's death. Social media as usual reacted furiously following which a rectification was effected and an apology issued for what BBC said was a ''human error'' that fell below their ''usual standards.''
Africans have been divided on the subject of reactions to Kobe's death, whiles the larger majority sent condolence messages and shared positive Bryant content, others said Africans should focus on sympathizing when Africans are adversely affected.
'š¸ ''African tributes to death of NBA star Kobe Bryant'' ????#KobeBraynt
'-- africanews (@africanews) January 27, 2020 Cannot believe the BBC - reporting on Kobe Bryant's death but showing video footage of LeBron James.If you know you know.
'-- Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) January 26, 2020 Togo internet outage after technical fault Togolese were without internet from Wednesday after connectivity dropped across the West African country, internet rights group, NetBlocks reported.
Most people reacting to the development on Twitter drew political meanings into the outage alleging that the government was ''testing the waters'' ahead of presidential polls in February.
But another internet rights group, Paradigm Initiative, quoted the state-run Togo Telcom as saying the issue was a technical one which arose from a fault with submarine cables in Spain and Portugal.
'š¸ ''Internet outage in Togo has Twitter buzzing despite official reasons''????¸?- Outage started January 22- Situation was confirmed by netblocks - Net rights body, ParadigmHQ reports operator says its a technical issue- Twitter 'reads' politics
'-- Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) January 23, 2020 Radio station fires all employees after suspension Beninese private radio station Soleil FM, owned by politician and business mogul Sebastian Adjavon, has fired all 41 employees in the wake of a government suspension of their operations.
''We are in cessation of activities since the radio is suspended until further notice by the High Authority for Audiovisual and Communication, the HAAC ,'' Virgile Ahouans¨, a journalist and leader of the staff union told AFP . He said the dismissal letter was delivered on Tuesday.
He deplored the suspension stressing that: ''the body invested by the constitution to protect press freedom has come to such a radical solution that does not take into account the right to information of Beninese.''
In mid-December, the radio, one of the few in opposition in Benin, received a letter from the president of the HAAC ordering ''suspend programs until further notice''. Saturnin Djossou, its chief editor confirmed that the station had unsuccessfully applied for a renewal of their license prior to the suspension.
Burundi journalist arrested over corruption report A Burundian journalist has been arrested after filing a report on misuse of public funds in the country.
Blaise Pascal Kararumiye who works with Radio Isanganiro was arrested on Thursday, his employer confirmed to the BBC .
The authorities have not disclosed the charges against the journalist and he was interrogated without a lawyer, station director Sylvere Ntakarutimana added.
Ghana remembers slain anti-corruption investigator a year on Ahmed Hussein Suale was an unknown name and face in Ghana until his assassination in January 2019. That one incident became the biggest blot on Ghana's mediascape in the year under review.
Ahmed was a key investigator with undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas. Reports linked his death to a production that unraveled corruption across Ghana football. A loudmoth lawmaker was cited prominently as inciting violence against Ahmed, whose photos he showed on primetime TV.
Anas posted a homage on the slain investigator on his social media handles. Meanwhile, the push for justice in the matter of his death continues in Ghana. The West African country has routinely been classed as the freeest space for journalists operating on the continent.
You were killed in the pursuit of truth.We will never forget.We will fight till justice prevails.#Justice4Ahmed #JournalismIsNotACrime #SayNoToCorruption
'-- Anas Aremeyaw Anas (@anasglobal) January 16, 2020 Ethiopian journalists move to form association From a top jailer of journalists only a few years ago, April 2018 marked a turning point in Ethiopia after Prime Minister Abiy freed all detained journalists. The media scape has been crucial in driving Abiy's reforms despite threats of hate speech and fake news.
Journalists in the country have now moved towards the formation of a professional association as pertains across much of Africa and the world. This is not the first time post-2018 that the idea has been raised.
In its 2019 report, Reporters Without Borders, wrote that media freedoms were being eroded following some incidents in 2019. The RSF report said a journalist was being detained in the line of work contrary to claims by Abiy that no journalist was behind bars during his Nobel Prize ceremony in December 2019.
የáŠá‰µá‹®áŒµá‹ áŒááá‰°áŠ› ጋá‹'ጠኞች á›á…በ᭠ዛᬠááµáች ጉባኤውን አáŠá‚á‹·ááMore than 400 journalists mobilized ourselves within few days. This professional association is going to be the real deal. Salute to those who started the initiative. #Ethiopia
'-- Haimanot B. Ashenafi (@Haimanotwua) January 12, 2020A private TV station in Nigeria, Channels TV, reported last weekend that its cameraman and another were briefly detained by police and their tools assaulted. They were covering a protest in the central Benue State.
They were shortly released and all their materials returned. But on social media most people rather took to mocking the stations choice of words in reporting the incident.
Channels said its cameraman was assaulted by police but people advised that they use ''clashes with police'' as they have done when other classes of people happen to get involved with the police. Most of the retaliatory reactions were posted under their tweet.
Uganda journalists briefly arrested The Daily Monitor portal in Uganda reported the brief arrest of two journalists who were picked up whiles covering the banned political consultations by musician, lawmaker Bobi Wine.
Bobi Wine was twice blocked this week by police when he tried to undertake political engagements. His People Power Movement had planned nationwide consultations towards his presidential ambitions. police arrested Wine, collaborators and some journalists.
They claimed our first consultation was blocked because it was an open venue. We secured an enclosed one. They lied we didn't have owner's permission. We produced evidence of payment. They have now intercepted us. Journalists arrested. People being clobbered. Dictator in panic
'-- BOBI WINE (@HEBobiwine) January 8, 2020 Malawi journalists arrested covering EU event The private Nation newspaper in Malawi reported the arrest of journalists on Wednesday December 8 as they went to the main airport to receive n European Union delegation for post-election duties.
The Nation's journalist Golden Matonga, ZBS journalist Steve Zimba and his television camera person Francis Chamasowa were released after being charged with ''Disordery at an airport contrary to Aviation Act''.
The trio, who had their cell-phones and cameras confiscated by police were arrested at around 4pm, the time the EU delegation was scheduled to arrive. They were released on police bail around 6.30pm. #NationOnline
'-- NationOnline (@NationOnlineMw) January 8, 2020 Jan. 6 '' 8: Security-related internet cut in Western Oromia Reports indicate that there is a partial internet cut across several towns in western Ethiopia. The development has been in place since Monday.
The move is believed to be in connection with rising insecurity in western Oromia regional state where the army continues to battle a former rebel group. Over a dozen officials of the region have been killed in the last few months by suspected rebels in the area.
The BBC adds that ''in some areas mobile call services are also not working.'' The state monopoly EthioTelecom has yet to comment publicly on the situation. The outfit twice last year cut the internet; first over national level examinations and in the wake of a foiled coup in the Amhara regional state.
Jan. 7: Sudan bans pro-Bashir media outlets In Sudan, the state continues to squeeze media outlets affiliated with ousted president Omar Al-Bashir. Two two newspapers and two television were affected by the measure.
Al-Sudani and Al-Ray Al-Am newspapers and Ashrooq and Teeba television stations were banned for allegedly receiving funding from al-Bashir, AFP news agency has reported. The punishment was meted down by a committee tasked with dismantling institutions linked to the former leader.
But editor-in-chief for the Al Sudani, Diaa al-Din Belal rejected the allegations in an interview with AFP : ''We operate under a private company and we did not receive any funds from a party or a government authority,'' Belal said. Bashir was deposed by the army amid protests in April 2019.
He has been jailed in a corruption case whiles other cases are running in the courts. Sudan is currently under a military '' civilian council overseeing a transition to democracy.
'Grooming': Washington passes far-left sex ed plan promoting promiscuity, LGBT, abortion | News | LifeSite
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:18
Warning: This article contains graphic and disturbing sexual content.
OLYMPIA, Washington, March 10, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) '' The Washington state legislature gave final approval this weekend to a pro-abortion, pro-gender ideology sex education plan that will allow the sex act to be described to five-year-olds, seven-year-olds to be taught about sexual pleasure, and sixth graders to be directed to a website featuring a how-to on anal sex.
Critics warn will these materials will expose children to explicit material and far-left values.
The Washington Senate voted 27-21 Saturday to approve House changes to SB 5395, the Seattle Times reports, sending it to Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee's desk for his signature. The bill would require Washington public schools to adopt new ''comprehensive'' sex education materials over the next two years. The bill ''does not mandate any one curriculum but rather establish[es] standards to which all curriculum must conform,'' Katy Faust, an children's rights activist with Them Before Us, told LifeSiteNews.
Pro-family advocates have sounded the alarm by highlighting the graphic lessons of sex ed curricula that meet the bill's standards. A sex ed curriculum by the pro-abortion, pro-LGBT group Advocates for Youth meets the bill's standards and is already used in some Washington schools. Called 3R, it heavily promotes gender theory, promiscuity, condoms and contraception, and abortion, as well as what is listed at the beginning of this article.
The 3R curriculum also directs teachers to have 14-year-old students role-play negotiating for sex. Teachers are warned that if two ''cisgender, heterosexual boys'' end up randomly being assigned to each other for this exercise, ''it is possible they will have a homophobic response.''
A 3R lesson plan called ''Creating Condom Confidence'' has ninth graders practice putting condoms on bananas or penis models. Their homework assignment is to ''see what it's actually like to try to get them yourselves.'' Students are told they have a ''right to access'' condoms ''at any age'' and that adults who make comments about them purchasing condoms can be reminded of that.
'Propaganda, ideology, and grooming'
Supporters stressed that a centerpiece of the new content will be lessons about ''affirmative consent'' to sex, which Democrat state Sen. Manka Dhingra will prevent ''future victimization'' and ''future violence'' against women and girls.
Opponents, meanwhile, questioned the age suitability of the lessons.
''Who will decide what is age-appropriate, where there is clearly going to be differences in opinion?'' asked Republican state Sen. Steve O'Ban. ''Should that be a government-mandated decision from OSPI [the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction] or should that be based upon the values of parents as reflected in their school boards and schools? We've always believed that the best government is the one that is local.''
''To the age-appropriateness, I saw some of the same material that Senator O'Ban was speaking about,'' said Republican state Sen. Keith Wagoner, referencing lessons the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction had cleared for fifth-graders. ''And I can tell you, if it was a photograph instead of a drawing it would be pornography.''
Faust reviewed the educational materials that comply with the bill and identified numerous alarming passages, including references to ''devout Catholics'' and ''pretty conservative'' households supposedly leaving their kids ignorant about sex, highlighting ''bathing together'' and ''mutual masturbation'' as activities with ''no risk'' for sexually-transmitted diseases, and references to 12-year-olds using condoms.
Other messages contained in state-approved material, she says, include instructions on bondage and ''body fluid play,'' how males can allegedly have babies and why they should be allowed on girls' sports teams, and how to obtain abortions, cross-sex hormones, and HPV vaccinations without parental involvement.
''Some of the approved curriculum is so graphic legislators couldn't quote it in proceedings without getting 'gaveled' or silenced,'' Faust said. ''Capital television had to run a mature content warning when airing debate coverage, the equivalent of a rated R movie [...] Of course it's heavily lobbied by Planned Parenthood, who has a vested interest in prematurely sexualizing their prospective clients/cash cows. This is not education. This is propaganda, ideology, and grooming.''
She noted that Democrats also rejected amendments to the bill which would have cut material related to sexual roleplay, forbade the materials from being incorporated into classes other than sex-ed, given opt-outs to both parents and teachers, required schools to solicit parental feedback, clarified that minors are legally incapable of giving consent to sex, limited the performance of these lessons to mental-health professionals, required mentions of pornography to include discussion its risks and dark side, added material about the benefits of abstinence, and more.
Inslee, a Democrat who has previously signed legislation forcing health insurers to cover abortion, is expected to sign the bill into law.
Coronavirus: Wuhan doctor speaks out against authorities | Coronavirus outbreak | The Guardian
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:16
Show caption Ai Fen, director of the emergency at Wuhan Central hospital. Photograph: Renwu/Handout
Coronavirus outbreakAi Fen says in interview, which censors are trying to erase, how superiors reprimanded her for warning about outbreak
Coronavirus '' latest updatesWed 11 Mar 2020 04.50 EDT
A doctor in Wuhan has spoken out after seeing several of her colleagues die from the coronavirus, criticising hospital authorities for suppressing early warnings of the outbreak in an interview censors have been trying to erase from the internet.
In an interview with the Chinese magazine, Renwu, or People, Ai Fen, director of the emergency at Wuhan Central hospital, said she was reprimanded after alerting her superiors and colleagues of a Sars-like virus seen in patients in December.
Now that the virus has claimed more than 3,000 lives inside China, including four doctors at her hospital, one of which was the whistleblower ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, Ai has joined other critics risking their jobs, as well as detention, to speak out about conditions in Wuhan.
'Hero who told the truth': Chinese rage over coronavirus death of whistleblower doctor ''If I had known what was to happen, I would not have cared about the reprimand. I would have fucking talked about it to whoever, where ever I could,'' she said in the interview.
Since Tuesday, Ai's interview has been posted and quickly deleted from Chinese social media sites. Renwu has removed the article and Ai could not be reached over the phone. Internet users have moved quickly to save the article, posting screenshots of it.
For those who're already applauding China's COVID-19 responses, CN is still heavily censoring info. A magazine's feature on a whistleblower is being taken down from the entire CN internet. Ppl have to turn article into EMOJI to avoid censorship. Chinese readers can u decode it?
'-- Tony Lin (@tony_zy) March 10, 2020 New versions of the article, in attempts to evade censors, have proliferated, from one partly written in emojis to another done in morse code, as well as pinyin, the romanisation system for Mandarin.
On 30 December, after seeing several patients with flu-like symptoms and resistant to usual treatment methods, Ai received the lab results of one case, which contained the word: ''Sars coronavirus.'' Ai, reading the report several times, says she broke out into a cold sweat.
She circled the words Sars, took a photo and sent it to a former medical school classmate, now a doctor at another hospital in Wuhan. By that evening, the photo had spread throughout medical circles in Wuhan, where it was also shared by Li Wenliang, becoming the first piece of evidence of the outbreak.
That night Ai said she received a message from her hospital saying information about this mysterious disease should not be arbitrarily released in order to avoid causing panic. Two days later, she told the magazine, she was summoned by the head of the hospital's disciplinary inspection committee and reprimanded for ''spreading rumours'' and ''harming stability''.
The staff were forbidden from passing messages or images related to the virus, she said. All Ai could do was ask her staff to wear protective clothing and masks '' even as hospital authorities told them not to. She told her department to wear protective jackets under their doctor coats.
''We watched more and more patients come in as the radius of the spread of infection became larger,'' she said, as they began to see patients with no connection to the seafood market, believed to be the source of the first cases.
Coronavirus map: how Covid-19 is spreading across the world Meanwhile, Chinese officials were still insisting there was no reason to believe the virus was being passed between people. ''I knew there must be human to human transmission,'' Ai said.
On 21 January, the day after Chinese officials finally confirmed there was human to human transmission of the virus, the number of sick residents coming to the emergency room had already reached 1,523 in a day '' three times the normal volume.
In the interview, Ai described moments that she will never forget: an elderly man staring blankly at a doctor giving him the death certificate of his 32-year-old son, or a father who was too sick to get out of the car outside of the hospital. By the time she walked to the car, he had died.
Q&A How can I protect myself from the coronavirus outbreak?
The World Health Organization is recommending that people take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine.
The UN agency advises people to:
Frequently wash their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soapCover their mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughingAvoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or coughSeek early medical help if they have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share their travel history with healthcare providersAvoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areasAvoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.Despite a surge in sales of face masks in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, experts are divided over whether they can prevent transmission and infection. There is some evidence to suggest that masks can help prevent hand-to-mouth transmissions, given the large number of times people touch their faces. The consensus appears to be that wearing a mask can limit '' but not eliminate '' the risks, provided it is used correctly.
Justin McCurry
Once, when she arranged for the transfer of a man's mother-in-law to in-patient care, the man took a moment to thank Ai. The mother-in-law died upon arrival. ''I know it was only a few seconds but that 'thank you' weighs heavily on me. In the time it took to say this one sentence, could a life have been saved?''
Over the last two months, Ai said she has also seen many of her colleagues fall sick and four die from the virus. One of those was Li Wenliang, whose death prompted an unprecedented wave of national anger and mourning.
Early on during the outbreak, public security officials in Wuhan said eight people had been punished for ''spreading rumours''. It is not clear if Li was one of those and Ai said her reprimand came from her hospital. Still, several friends have asked Ai if she was one of those whistleblowers.
''I am not a whistleblower,'' Ai told Renwu. ''I am the one who provided the whistle.''
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How Turkey Lost a Battle of Wills, and Force, to Russia
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 00:40
When the history of the Syrian conflict is written, the fighting that took place between the Syrian Army and its allies on the one side, and the Turkish military and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels on the other, from early February through early March 2020 in and around the Syrian town of Saraqib, will go down as one of the decisive encounters of that war.
Representing more than a clash of arms between the Syrian and Turkish militaries, the Battle for Saraqib was a test of political will between Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. History will show Turkey lost on both accounts.
The Battle for Saraqib had its roots in fighting that began back in December 2019, in the form of an offensive carried out by the Syrian Army, supported by the Russian Air Force, against pro-Turkish opposition forces in and around Idlib province. The Syrian-Russian offensive represented the collapse of the so-called Sochi Agreement of September 17, 2018, which established what were known as ''de-escalation zones'' separating the Syrian Army from anti-government rebel forces in Idlib. As part of the Sochi Agreement, Turkey set up a dozen ''observation posts'''--in reality, fortified compounds housing several hundred troops and their equipment'--throughout the Idlib de-escalation zone.
In exchange for legitimizing the existence of fortified Turkish observation posts, the Sochi Agreement mandated specific actions on Turkey's part, including overseeing the establishment of a ''demilitarized zone'' within the de-escalation zone where tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers were to be excluded, and from which all ''radical terrorist groups'' would be removed by October 15, 2018. Moreover, Turkey was responsible for restoring transit traffic on two strategic highways linking the city of Aleppo with Latakia (the M4 highway) and Damascus (the M5 highway.) Against the Left: A Ro... Llewellyn H Rockwell Jr Best Price: $13.57 Buy New $8.00 (as of 10:15 EST - Details )
While Turkey established its fortified observation posts, it failed to live up to any of its commitments under the Sochi Agreement'--no demilitarized zones were created, no heavy equipment evacuated, and no ''radical terrorist groups'' removed from the de-escalation zone. This last point was of particular note, since the most prominent of these ''radical terrorist groups'''--Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS'--was also the largest and most effective of the anti-Assad groups operating in Idlib province.
The objective of the December 2019 Syrian military offensive was to achieve through force of arms what Turkey had failed to do'--restore transit traffic capability for both the M4 and M5 highways and, in doing so, evict HTS and other anti-Assad rebel groups from the de-escalation zones. By early February 2020 the Syrian Army had, through its advances, surrounded a number of Turkish observation posts, putting Turkey in the politically difficult situation of sitting and watching while the anti-Assad forces it had helped create, train and equip were being defeated on the field of battle.
Turkey sought to blunt the Syrian advance on Feb. 3, by reinforcing its observation post located near the strategic town of Saraqib, which overlooked the juncture of the M4 and M5 highways. Whomever controlled Saraqib likewise controlled both highways. When a large Turkish military convoy heading toward Saraqib was brought under Syrian artillery fire, killing five Turkish soldiers and three Turkish civilian contractors, Turkey responded by shelling Syrian Army positions, killing scores of Syrian soldiers. This was the opening round of what would become the Battle for Saraqib and represented the first large-scale combat between the Syrian and Turkish militaries since the Syrian crisis began in 2011.
The Syrian attack on the Turkish Army in Idlib was a red line for President Erdogan, who in a statement made before Turkish parliamentarians on Feb. 5, warned that ''if the Syrian regime will not retreat from Turkish observation posts in Idlib in February, Turkey itself will be obliged to make this happen.'' Erdogan backed up his rhetoric by deploying tens of thousands of Turkish troops, backed up by armor and artillery, to its border with Syria, while continuing to dispatch reinforcements to its beleaguered observation posts inside Idlib.
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CNN Cancels Debate Audience and Media Attendance For Sanders -v- Biden Debate '' Clyburn Says Cancel All Joe Biden Debates Now'...
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 00:36
As Joe Biden continues to exhibit serious cognitive issues, and questions about his mental impairments increase following a disturbing incident today with an auto-worker in Michigan, the DNC and CNN have now coordinated to cancel audience attendance for the tenuously scheduled March 15th debate between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.
Additionally, CNN is now stopping all media from attending the Arizona debate; and this comes on the heels of the DNC requesting a seated format with a desk for the 77-year-old candidate.
(CNN) '' With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the nation, Democrats announced Tuesday that the CNN-Univision Democratic presidential debate set for this weekend will be held without an audience.
['...] ''DNC has been in regular communication with local health officials and the Mayor's office, which advised that we could proceed as planned,'' DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement. ''Nevertheless, our number one priority has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, Arizonans and all those involved in the debate. We will continue to remain in daily contact with all stakeholders through Sunday.''
CNN officials agreed with the decision and noted that there would also be no press filing center or spin room at the debate. (more)
There is no doubt the DNC is apoplectic at the rapid and very visible decline of their leading candidate for president. However, along with that no-one seriously thinks that Biden is making the decisions any longer. Joe Biden now presents himself as a puppet for the party control agents who are scripting everything.
Influential black caucus leader Jim Clyburn stepped in prior to the South Carolina election and said he was going to endorse Joe Biden while also announcing his intention to take control over how the campaign functioned. Joe Biden's team accepted Clyburn's terms.
Now Clyburn is telling the DNC to immediately stop all debates and protect Biden.
Either CNN is going to have a heavily manipulated debate with taped-delays, leaked questions and a framework of total control to protect Joe Biden'.... or they'll cancel it. Either way the normal purposes, intents and reasons to hold a debate are null and void.
A remarkable, and transparently obvious, turn-of-events; even for Democrats.
In this video, Biden is unstable on his feet and Symone Sanders quickly moves into position to stabilize him.
This video highlights his campaign team know about Biden's impairment issues.
Watch it. Watch them. You'll see.
'-- TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) March 10, 2020
Will there be a CNN debate on March 15th between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden?
If Yes, why?If No, why?If Maybe, what are issues that will determine?
'-- TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) March 10, 2020
''The Waters Parted for Joe Biden''
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 00:35
It feels like the closing of a loop. In March 1988, a dramatic upset in Michigan by the Rev. Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign brought him into a tie with Michael Dukakis, panicking the Democratic establishment and opening a window to a different future for the party. In March 2016, Sanders delivered a stunning upset to Hillary Clinton in the Rust Belt state, momentarily resetting the primary. Eight months later, Donald Trump did the same to Clinton in Michigan, sealing his Electoral College victory.
On Tuesday, Michigan dealt a crushing blow to Sanders's second presidential campaign '-- despite an endorsement on Sunday from Jackson. The Michigan Secretary of State's office said it would not release official results until midday Wednesday due to a large number of absentee ballots, but several networks called the state for Biden not long after polls closed at 8 p.m. With half the votes counted, Biden sat on a comfortable 14-point lead.
The win for Biden comes after a swing toward the former vice president '-- what Nate Silver described as ''probably the fastest in the history of the primaries.'' Sanders moved from being the clear frontrunner on February 23, the day after the Nevada caucuses, to a stalled candidate on March 1, the day after South Carolina, to trailing on March 4, the day after Super Tuesday. Polls continued to slide away from Sanders over the next week, leading to his eventual loss in Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri as early returns came in on Tuesday.
The autopsies will begin soon, even as the campaign struggles forward, with Florida, Arizona, Illinois, and Ohio set to vote in a week '-- where two critical House contests will pit insurgent primary challengers Morgan Harper in Columbus, Ohio and Marie Newman in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois against Democratic incumbents.
Those autopsies will look closely at the decisions made in those days between Nevada and this Tuesday by Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who also competed in the progressive lane until dropping out after Super Tuesday. The main question they'll have to answer is why the Sanders campaign was unable to turn out the young, working class electorate he needed to beat the more moderate opponent, who dominated him among older white suburban voters as well as older black voters.
2016 vs. 2020: Share of Dem primary/caucus electorate under 30IA 18% ('16) => 24% ('20)
NH 19% => 13%NV 18% => 17%SC 15% => 11%AL 14% => 10%MA 19% => 16%NC 18% => 14%TN 15% => 11%TX 20% => 15%VA 16% => 13%VT 15% => 11%
'-- Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) March 10, 2020Biden launched his campaign on April 25 of last year, and was immediately the top-polling candidate, starting with a 6-point lead, with Sanders in second place. By mid-May, Biden had climbed above 40 percent, expanding that lead to 27 points as Sanders fell under 15 percent. Biden, though, had hit his 2019 peak. He stumbled repeatedly on the campaign trail and in debates, with mainstream media figures and his presidential opponents openly wondering if Biden was still cognitively up to the challenge of a campaign or the presidency. He began a precipitous decline, hovering in the high 20s through the rest of the year, before collapsing outright in late January as the Iowa caucuses approached. He finished fourth there, barely edging out Amy Klobuchar, a pummeling that was made merciful by the party's botching of the vote counting.
He then won fewer than 25,000 votes in New Hampshire, finishing a disastrous fifth. In Nevada, with 20 percent of the vote, he finished second to Sanders, who became the frontrunner for the nomination.
Fewer than one in five Democratic primary voters believed Biden was the most electable candidate, and Sanders expanded his national lead, even overtaking Biden among black voters.
Sanders was feeling good.
I've got news for the Republican establishment. I've got news for the Democratic establishment. They can't stop us.
'-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 22, 2020On Sunday night, ''60 Minutes'' aired an interview in which Sanders was pressed on praise he had offered to Fidel Castro for expanding literacy in Cuba, resulting in a days-long news cycle on Sanders and Castro. If there are what-ifs to ask, they have the most force in the week between Nevada and South Carolina. What if Sanders had managed to persuade Warren to drop out after Nevada and endorse him? What if the pair hadn't spent January at each other's throats over a conversation during a private meeting in 2018? Could Sanders have transitioned from insurgent to leader of the party?
To reverse engineer Biden's victory and Sanders's defeat, the question comes down to South Carolina. What could Sanders have done to stave off a Jim Clyburn endorsement of Biden, which led to a 30-point loss there, which flipped the race upside down?
Could Sanders have transitioned from insurgent to leader of the party?
Most obviously, he could have campaigned and invested there more. He had spent Wednesday, Thursday, and part of Friday in South Carolina, but then moved to Massachusetts, hoping to topple Warren in her home state and knock her out of the race. On the day voters went to the polls in South Carolina, Sanders rallied in Boston. He could have spent more on advertising directly to black voters in South Carolina, and linked himself to the hopes and legacy of former President Obama, rather than highlighting criminal justice reform '-- a pitch that many black voters understand as pandering.
And, perhaps most importantly, he could have attacked Biden's record. Biden's collapse in January coincided with a sustained assault by Sanders's staff, eventually joined by Sanders himself, on Biden's abysmal record on Social Security. Biden historically has not responded to political assaults well, and didn't do so in January, repeatedly stepping back into a fight he would have been better off avoiding. He even lashed out at a CBS News reporter, shouting, ''Why why why why why?'' in a way that made him look unhinged. Sanders, instead, defended Biden as a friend, even going so far as to apologize for a surrogate's critical column, declaring, ''It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way.''
After South Carolina, Biden's camp upped the charm offensive toward Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who dropped out and endorsed Biden, along with former candidate Beto O'Rourke. Meanwhile, Sanders and Warren weren't on speaking terms. Neither Sanders nor Warren won Massachusetts, and the state instead went to Biden.
Warren dropped out of the race, but instead of endorsing Sanders, her first public interview was devoted to hitting Sanders for online vitriol among his supporters. The overwhelming majority of her supporters moved toward Biden rather than Sanders. A candidate who had hesitated attacking Biden throughout most of the campaign is finishing it with a reputation for stirring up toxic negativity.
''The waters parted for Joe Biden like no other candidate has ever seen,'' said CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, describing the wild swing in his direction. ''It's almost as if he's standing there saying, 'What? What? I'm here?' Because he did everything wrong. He lost a couple times, he came in second or third. This should not have happened, but it did happen to him.''
China wants to take a victory lap over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak - CNN
Wed, 11 Mar 2020 00:27
Police officers restrain the relative of an inmate outside the Sant'Anna jail in Modena, Italy, on Monday, March 9.
Riots broke out in several Italian jails after visits were suspended to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Medical staff in Wuhan, China, celebrate after all coronavirus patients were discharged from a temporary hospital on March 9.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 9.
Stocks plummeted as coronavirus worries and an oil price race to the bottom weighed on global financial markets.
Rescuers search for victims at the site of a
collapsed hotel in Quanzhou, China, on Sunday, March 8. The hotel was being used as a coronavirus quarantine center.
The Grand Princess cruise ship, carrying at least 21 people who tested positive for coronavirus, is seen off the coast of San Francisco on March 8.
The ship was being held at sea. Sumo wrestlers attend a tournament in Osaka, Japan, that was being held behind closed doors because of the coronavirus outbreak.
A couple rides a bicycle at a park in Seoul, South Korea, on Saturday, March 7.
A volunteer from Blue Sky Rescue uses fumigation equipment to disinfect a residential compound in Beijing on Thursday, March 5.
Airmen from the California National Guard drop coronavirus testing kits down to the
Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California on March 5.
Municipal workers are seen at the Kaaba, inside Mecca's Grand Mosque. Saudi Arabia emptied Islam's holiest site for sterilization over coronavirus fears, an unprecedented move after the kingdom suspended the year-round Umrah pilgrimage.
Passengers react as a worker wearing a protective suit disinfects the departure area of a railway station in Hefei, China, on Wednesday, March 4.
Teachers at the Nagoya International School in Japan conduct an online class for students staying at home as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.
Soldiers spray disinfectant throughout a shopping street in Seoul.
A Muslim worshipper attends a mass prayer against coronavirus in Dakar, Senegal, on March 4. It was after cases were confirmed in the country.
People wear face masks in New York's Times Square on Tuesday, March 3. New York reported its first case of coronavirus two days earlier.
A security guard stands on the Shibuya Sky observation deck in Tokyo on March 3.
US President Donald Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, speaks during a meeting with pharmaceutical executives and the White House coronavirus task force on March 2. Throughout
the meeting, Trump was hyperfocused on pressing industry leaders in the room for a timeline for a coronavirus vaccine and treatment. But experts at the table -- from the administration and the pharmaceutical industry -- repeatedly emphasized that a vaccine can't be rushed to market before it's been declared safe for the public.
Healthcare workers transfer a patient at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, on March 1. The long-term care facility is linked to confirmed coronavirus cases.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a London laboratory of the Public Health England National Infection Service.
Staff members disinfect the premises of a makeshift hospital in Wuhan on March 1, after all patients were discharged.
Medical staff stand outside a hospital in Daegu, South Korea, on March 1.
Tomoyuki Sugano, a professional baseball player on the Yomiuri Giants, throws a pitch in an empty Tokyo Dome during a preseason game on February 29. Fans have been barred from preseason games to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Commuters wearing masks make their way to work during morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station in Tokyo on February 28.
Medical staff transport a coronavirus patient within the Red Cross hospital in Wuhan on February 28.
A bank clerk disinfects banknotes in China's Sichuan province on February 26.
A child wearing a protective face mask rides on a scooter in an empty area in Beijing.
A Catholic devotee wears a face mask as he is sprinkled with ash during Ash Wednesday services in Paranaque, Philippines, on February 26.
People disinfect Qom's Masumeh shrine in Tehran, Iran, on February 25.
A worker in Daegu stacks plastic buckets containing medical waste from coronavirus patients on February 24.
Paramedics carry a stretcher off an ambulance in Hong Kong on February 23.
People attend a professional soccer match in Kobe, Japan, on February 23. To help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, the soccer club Vissel Kobe
told fans not to sing, chant or wave flags in the season opener against Yokohama FC.
A team of volunteers disinfects a pedestrian bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.
A man rides his bike in Beijing on February 23.
Hospital personnel in Codogno, Italy, carry new beds inside the hospital on February 21. The hospital is hosting some people who have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
Doctors look at a CT scan of a lung at a hospital in Xiaogan, China, on February 20.
A sales clerk wears a mask as she waits for customers at a hat shop in Beijing on February 18.
Small companies that help drive China's economy
are worried about how much damage the coronavirus outbreak will cause to business.
A medical worker rests at the isolation ward of the Red Cross hospital in Wuhan on February 16.
Authorities watch as the Westerdam cruise ship approaches a port in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, on February 13. Despite having no confirmed cases of coronavirus on board, the Westerdam was refused port by four other Asian countries before being allowed to dock in Cambodia.
A worker has his temperature checked on a shuttered commercial street in Beijing on February 12.
Beds are made in the Wuhan Sports Center, which has been converted into a temporary hospital.
A child rides a scooter past a police officer wearing protective gear outside the Hong Mei House in Hong Kong on February 11. More than 100 people evacuated the housing block after four residents in two different apartments tested positive for the coronavirus.
Relatives of quarantined passengers wave at the Diamond Princess cruise ship as it leaves a port in Yokohama, Japan, to dump wastewater and generate potable water. Dozens of people on the ship
were infected with coronavirus. The Deneway branch of the County Oak Medical Centre is closed amid coronavirus fears in Brighton, England, on February 11. Several locations in and around Brighton were quarantined after
a man linked to several coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom came into contact with health-care workers and members of the public.
A police officer, left, wears protective gear as he guards a cordon at the Hong Mei House in Hong Kong on February 11.
A worker wears a protective suit as he waits to screen people entering an office building in Beijing on February 10. China's workforce is
slowly coming back to work after the coronavirus outbreak forced many parts of the country to extend the Lunar New Year holiday by more than a week.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has his temperature checked during an appearance in Beijing on February 10.
People participating in a Lunar New Year Parade in New York City hold signs reading, "Wuhan stay strong!" on February 9.
A shopper walks past empty shelves at a grocery store in Hong Kong on February 9. China's Ministry of Commerce
encouraged supermarkets and grocery stores to resume operations as the country's voluntary or mandatory quarantines began to take an economic toll.
A worker wearing a protective suit uses a machine to disinfect a business establishment in Shanghai, China, on February 9.
Workers in protective gear walk near the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama on February 7.
A woman grieves while paying tribute to Li at Li's hospital in Wuhan on February 7.
The Anthem of the Seas cruise ship is seen docked at the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey, on February 7. Passengers were to be screened for coronavirus as a precaution, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN.
A light installation is displayed by striking members of the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance and other activists at the Hospital Authority building in Hong Kong on February 7.
Passengers are seen on the deck of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked at the Yokohama Port on February 7.
Flight attendants wearing face masks make their way through Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok on February 7.
Workers check sterile medical gloves at a latex-product manufacturer in Nanjing, China, on February 6.
A woman wears a protective mask as she shops in a Beijing market on February 6.
This aerial photo shows the Leishenshan Hospital that is being built in Wuhan to handle coronavirus patients.
A passenger shows a note from the World Dream cruise ship docked at the Kai Tak cruise terminal in Hong Kong on February 5.
A mask is seen on a statue in Beijing on February 5.
An ambulance stops at a traffic light in front of the Grand Lisboa Hotel in Macao. The virus turned China's gambling mecca
into a ghost town. A dog in Beijing wears a makeshift mask constructed from a paper cup.
Striking hospital workers in Hong Kong demand the closure of the border with mainland China on February 4.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship sits anchored in quarantine off the port of Yokohama on February 4. It arrived a day earlier with passengers feeling ill.
A medical worker wearing protective gear waits to take the temperature of people entering Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong on February 4.
Medical workers in protective suits help transfer patients to a newly completed field hospital in Wuhan.
People wearing protective overalls talk outside a Wuhan hotel housing people in isolation on February 3.
A man stands in front of TV screens broadcasting a speech by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on February 3. Lam said the city would shut almost all border-control points to the mainland.
A colleague sprays disinfectant on a doctor in Wuhan on February 3.
Commuters in Tokyo walk past an electric board displaying dismal stock prices on February 3, the first business day after the Chinese New Year. Asia's markets recorded their
worst day in years as investors finally got a chance to react to the worsening coronavirus outbreak.
Medical workers move a coronavirus patient into an isolation ward at the Second People's Hospital in Fuyang, China, on February 1.
Children wear plastic bottles as makeshift masks while waiting to check in to a flight at the Beijing Capital Airport on January 30.
Passengers in Hong Kong wear protective masks as they wait to board a train at Lo Wu Station, near the mainland border, on January 30.
A volunteer wearing protective clothing disinfects a street in Qingdao, China, on January 29.
Nanning residents line up to buy face masks from a medical appliance store on January 29.
Lyu Jun, left, a member of a medical team leaving for Wuhan, says goodbye to a loved one in Urumqi, China, on January 28.
A charter flight from Wuhan arrives at an airport in Anchorage, Alaska, on January 28. The US government chartered the plane to bring home US citizens and diplomats from the American consulate in Wuhan.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in wears a mask to inspect the National Medical Center in Seoul on January 28.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, center, attends a news conference in Hong Kong on January 28. Lam said China will stop individual travelers to Hong Kong while closing some border checkpoints and restricting flights and train services from the mainland.
Workers at an airport in Novosibirsk, Russia, check the temperatures of passengers who arrived from Beijing on January 28.
Alex Azar, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, speaks during a news conference about the American public-health response.
Two residents walk in an empty park in Wuhan on January 27. The city remained on lockdown for a fourth day.
A person wears a protective mask, goggles and coat as he stands in a nearly empty street in Beijing on January 26.
Medical staff members bring a patient to the Wuhan Red Cross hospital on January 25.
People wear protective masks as they walk under Lunar New Year decorations in Beijing on January 25.
Construction workers in Wuhan begin to work on a special hospital to deal with the outbreak on January 24.
Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, speaks to reporters on January 24 about
a patient in Chicago who had been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The patient was the second in the United States to be diagnosed with the illness.
A couple kisses goodbye as they travel for the Lunar New Year holiday in Beijing on January 24.
Workers manufacture protective face masks at a factory in China's Hubei Province on January 23.
Shoppers wear masks in a Wuhan market on January 23.
Passengers are checked by a thermography device at an airport in Osaka, Japan, on January 23.
People wear masks while shopping for vegetables in Wuhan on January 23.
A militia member checks the body temperature of a driver in Wuhan on January 23.
Passengers wear masks as they arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, on January 23.
A customer holds boxes of particulate respirators at a pharmacy in Hong Kong on January 23.
Passengers wear masks at the high-speed train station in Hong Kong on January 23.
A woman rides an electric bicycle in Wuhan on January 22.
People in Guangzhou, China, wear protective masks on January 22.
People go through a checkpoint in Guangzhou on January 22.
Medical staff of Wuhan's Union Hospital attend a gathering on January 22.
Health officials hold a news conference in Beijing on January 22.
Podfather Adam Curry Explains Big Google Conspiracy Theory - Dankanator
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 23:18
No Agenda Show's podcaster has a rather interesting view on Google creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin. A dam Curry aka the Podfather explains his big Google Conspiracy Theory to Joe Rogan on YouTube's JRE Clips. The 55-year-old No Agenda podcaster believes that the search engine giant's conception was planned and ensured by the CIA. He gives a rather interesting insight into the Keyhole acquisition by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
In-Q-Tel, Satellite Image Firm Keyhole and Google | Adam Curry sheds light on the ConspiracyAt one point during the Joe Rogan Experience YouTube podcast, Podfather Adam Curry shares his fears of the digital realm. The former MTV VJ (known for interviewing Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney) is big on hiding his online presence. When Joe asked him 'Do you use Android?' Adam Curry's response was as follows.
No, I don't. I trust Apple more. I have a ''stripped-down, no Sim card, VPN pie-hole'' iPhone 7. There's a lot of different parts on my iPhone 7 and no other apps on it, just a blanket.
The compelling Google TheoryThe host of JRE Clips was quite surprised! To top it off Adam Curry then talks about his Google Conspiracy Theory. Adam Curry explains how Google came into being.
He thinks that Larry and Sergey's purchase of Keyhole was the turning point and In-Q-Tel helped them. Adam Curry is a believer in the theory that Google was set up CIA personnel.
In-Q-Tel is a CIA company and its not a secret. It helped the search engine owners with Keyhole acquisition(mapping company). It was used to make Google Maps and is the most important tool. Knowing the whereabouts of a person is the most important thing as far as human identities are concerned. There were a lot of intelligence people involved in setting it up.
What Adam Curry says next was mind-boggling and hard to digest. According to him, Google's founders became, what their masters/controllers were to them. Adam was referring to the two growing up under oppression in Russia.
The psychology behind Sergey and Larry is that people become what their oppressors are to them. I don't think these two are bad guys but this is the process of psychosis and it happens when you grow up under stressed-out situations. People who have been abused, often abuse others. That's what's going on.
Adam Curry thinks that this behavior translates into Google's abuse of power and authority over our data. Not giving us control over our own data, share in the profits by the sale of it and constantly keeping an eye on the users' activities is an essential part of that mindset.
The future?Lastly, Adam Curry wraps-up the topic by saying that Google's business model is f****ing humanity. He believes that if there's a dire need for legislation as far as data privacy is concerned. If this business model survives, no one will be able to stop them from the abuse of power in the future.
Curry's views aren't something that one can neglect and it makes one think for a second. Dankanator will keep you updated on more from the Podfather.
New US Rules Would Let Patients Download Health Records to Phones
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 18:54
The authors
write, ''The Trump administration on Monday unveiled its plan to make it easier for patients to download their health and insurance records to their smartphones '-- an effort that has triggered privacy concerns from some of the biggest health care trade groups and intense lobbying from the tech industry. The rules force insurers and hospitals to make patients' information easily shareable using common data standards. ... The nation's leading hospital organization, which has been a notable critic of the rules '... said the finalized policies don't do enough to ensure health data is kept private and secure.'' Photo credit:
Pxhere Reading Time: 2 minutes Scientists Will Soon Be Able to Monitor Air Pollution Hourly From Space (Mili) From The Verge : '' NASA, South Korea, and the European Space Agency are working together on a 'virtual constellation' of space-based instruments to document global air quality in unprecedented detail.''
What If Coronavirus Hits Seattle's Homeless Shelters? (Reader Steve) The author writes , ''Every night at St. Martin de Porres shelter, 212 men over the age of 50 pack in to sleep on mats on the ground 6 inches apart. Many clients here have underlying medical conditions '... and during the day the shelter serves as a kind of medical respite for people who have nowhere else where they can go and recuperate. St. Martin de Porres is not alone; in a 2019 survey of almost 1,200 homeless people in King County, 27% said they had a chronic health problem.''
Bloomberg's Job Security Promises Are Falling Through, Campaign Workers Say (Russ) The author writes , ''Former campaign workers for Michael R. Bloomberg's presidential bid reacted angrily on Monday to news that they would not work through the November election, as expected.''
There Is Hard Data That Shows 'Bernie Bros' Are a Myth (Chris) From Salon : ''A computational social scientist's study shows Bernie's Twitter followers act pretty much the same as everyone else.''
Osaka Police Seize 5,800 Bike Seats, Arrest Man in Theft Case (Chris) The author writes , ''Hiroaki Suda, 57, was arrested on Feb. 13 after a security camera caught him stealing two bike seats worth roughly ¥8,000 on Nov. 29 and 30 at a train station and a parking lot for bicycles in Higashiosaka. Suda has admitted to the charges, with the police quoting him Friday as saying, 'I began to steal bike seats about 25 years ago in Tokyo and Osaka to relieve stress at work and, gradually, collecting them turned out to be fun.'''
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Ugandan Peace Festival Seeks End to Violence in Africa
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 18:53
KAMPALA, Uganda'--Young people played tug of war and others shook their bodies to crowd-pleasing music as a scorching African sun set near the Ugandan capital. A tipsy poet drew loud cheers by repeatedly reciting, ''One day. Someday. Could be this day.''
Others painted their faces, ate barbecued goat, played chess, and practiced yoga. The good-natured gathering attracted scores of people in support of the day when all of Africa would be free of armed violence.
The Mara Mara peace festival drew inspiration from the African Union's declaration of 2020 as the year for ''silencing the guns'' on a continent that has long faced violence ranging from civil war to ethnic rivalries and rebel insurgencies. In an effort to reduce the number of illegal weapons in circulation across the continent, the AU has said there will be an amnesty during the month of September, when illegally owned guns can be turned over to local authorities.
The African Union, a continent-wide bloc that is often accused of not doing enough to end armed violence, has said its leaders will reach out to youths to discourage them from taking up arms.
Africa still has multiple conflict zones ranging from Islamic extremist violence in West Africa's Sahel region and in parts of Nigeria, to armed rebellion by militias in eastern Congo. In South Sudan, the world's newest country, hundreds of thousands of people were killed and over 1 million displaced by a five-year civil war that officially ended in 2018, but still simmers. That conflict has created Africa's worst refugee crisis since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Africa Peace Zones, a network of volunteers who organized the weekend peace gathering in Uganda in support of the AU's mission, acknowledged the task at hand as ''ambitious,'' citing challenges including gender-based violence and unemployment.
''And while sustainable solutions will require actions from a cross-section of society, we believe that as Africa's young people, we hold the key to building a continent free of all violence,'' the group said in a statement. ''Some of Africa's strongest attributes'--tolerance, kindness, generosity, resilience, problem solving and a team spirit'--are the very foundation of negotiation, mediation, and reconciliation as alternatives to violence.''
Uganda has enjoyed relative peace for nearly 20 years, since the end of a deadly rebellion in the country's north. But the East African country has had spots of political violence, with the security forces accused of cracking down on opposition activities. President Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986 and is trying to extend his rule further, prompting concerns about possible violence around elections in 2021.
Young Ugandans such as William Musinguzi, a painter at the festival who drew a map of Africa with the red spots indicating countries that are battling insurgencies and civil war, cite mistrust of authorities with guns. The 25-year-old noted with pleasure that there were no police at the event, saying that meant peace.
For Gerry Ssebunya, a dance instructor and mental health advocate whose family was affected by war in northern Uganda, peace festivals are a ''fantastic way'' to reach out to young people in need of a sense of communion. Ssebunya recalled that in 2019, she visited her ancestral home in northern Uganda for the first time in 33 years, because she was still traumatized by memories of the insurgency that ended in the early 2000s. This meant that she had been ''a refugee'' in her own country, she said.
''We need interventions like this to help people who are struggling, to also help people to bring back to the forefront of our minds that we don't have to get into conflict. We don't have to pick up guns. We don't have to fight,'' she said, as a group played dodgeball nearby. ''We can talk, we can talk. Events like this switch our minds back to saying, 'You know what? We are not animals. We can talk to each other.'''
Google recommends all North America employees to work from home
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 18:53
FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is displayed outside the company offices in New York, U.S., June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O ) Google is recommending all of its North American employees to work from home if their roles permit, the search giant said on Tuesday, aiming to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
The new recommendation is an expansion of a similar guideline it gave to employees in San Francisco Bay area.
Most of the big companies have so far limited the work-from-home option to specific regions in the United States.
Business Insider, which first reported the move, said Google sent out a memo on Tuesday to its tens of thousands North American employees, recommending them to work remotely until at least April 10.
Separately, a Google spokesperson said the company is temporarily banning ads for medical face masks on its platform ''out of an abundance of caution''.
Google said it is establishing a COVID-19 fund, by which all its temporary staff and vendors can take paid sick leave if they show symptoms of the virus or are unable to come to work due to being quarantined.
Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur
Why Joe Biden's confrontation with an auto worker in Detroit is probably a good thing for him - CNNPolitics
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 18:52
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated 4:20 PM EDT, Tue March 10, 2020
(CNN) On Tuesday, while sneaking in some last-minute campaigning in Detroit on the day of the critical Michigan primary, Joe Biden got into an extended confrontation with an autoworker who took issue with the former vice president's stance on guns.
Here's the key section of the back-and-forth, in which Biden seems to shush someone else in the crowd in order to speak directly to the autoworker.
And here's what was said:
Man: "You are actively trying to end our Second Amendment right and take away our guns."
Biden: "You're full of shit. I did not'--no, no, shush. Shush. I support the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment -- just like right now if you yelled fire, that's not free speech. And from the very beginning, I have a shotgun, I have a 20-gauge, a 12-gauge. My sons hunt, guess what? You're not allowed to own any weapon, I'm not taking your gun away at all. You need 100 rounds?"
Man: "You and Beto say you're going to take our guns --"
Biden: "I did not say that. That's not true. I did not say that."
Man: "It's a viral video."
Biden: "It's a viral video like the other ones you're putting out that are simply a lie. Wait, wait wait, wait, take your AR, your AR-14, Don't tell me anything about (inaudible)"
Man: "You're working for me, man."
Biden: "I'm not working for -- gimme a break man. Don't be such a horse's ass."
It went on like that for another few seconds before Biden walked away. (Biden corrected his reference to an "AR-14" to the proper "AR-15" later.)
Sensing an opportunity, President Donald Trump's team immediately cut the clip and began sharing it across social media. Here's how Matt Wolking, Trump's director of rapid response, framed it:
The insinuation was obvious. Biden, the front-runner to be the Democratic presidential nominee, had lost it when an autoworker had confronted him about his too-liberal gun policies. (Wolking also shared video on Twitter of some of the autoworkers chanting "Trump!" as Biden toured the facility.) This was a bad moment -- in the mind of the Trump team -- for Biden.
I'm not so sure.
The knock on Biden -- certainly among Democrats who support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and even among many Democrats who back the former vice president -- is that he lacks passion on the campaign trail. That his promises to return things to normal and pledges to work with Republicans aren't the sort of stuff that Democrats want to hear right now.
Democrats are deeply angry at the ways in which Trump and his enablers within the GOP have steered the country. In exit polling in California's primary last week, almost 3 in 4 voters (73%) described themselves as "angry" about the Trump administration. In Texas, more than 6 in 10 (62%) said the same. And in Virginia, 58% described themselves as angry at the Trump administration.
(After the exchange was criticized by both Sanders and Trump's campaigns, Biden said Tuesday, "I'm surprised that Sanders is joining Trump. It's surprising.")
A video recently circulated by conservative outlets falsely suggested Biden supports widespread confiscation of guns, according to
Given that mood, it's hard to see how Biden getting in a shouting match with a guy saying that Biden wants to take away peoples' guns (fact check: not true) and using a few expletives to make his point is a negative (if it has any impact at all) for him.
There's also a deeply rich irony here in the Trump campaign trying to suggest that confrontations, generally speaking, and a politician using a few curse words is a bad thing. After all, this President loves confrontation! And cussing! Often in public! And dismissing those who say that he isn't acting presidential as wimps and whiners!
Yes, this is a huge double standard. When Trump tells people where they can stick it, his fans say he's being tough and standing up for America. When Biden does the same, he's unhinged.
Look. I'm not sure this one incident changes many -- or any -- voters' minds. But to the extent it does have an impact, it's hard for me to see this as anything but good for Biden as he seeks to put away Sanders in the primary and pivot to taking on Trump in the general.
Lateral thinking says 5G is being secretly launched across the world.
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 18:33
Lateral thinking says 5G is being secretly launched across the world. Tue 10:21 pm +00:00, 10 Mar 2020 posted by Tapestry
The Coronavirus panic is coincidental in time with the launch of 5G '' in Wuhan and in Milan. As they launch 5G they are testing it for what level of power they can use. The tests will be up to and beyond the point at which people collapse, and then they will lower the power level to the point at which it doesn't kill so obviously. While this is going on, they need a smokescreen, and that smokescreen is the Corona Virus panic.
Evidence of 5G being deployed in the UK is also apparent '' people are noticing dead bees everywhere. I have seen a couple of dead bees myself recently outside our door. I never saw this before. Bees are known to be highly susceptible to high powered microwaves such as 5G. People are reporting headaches, and wondering what's the cause. Also tinnitus or ringing in the ears.
In China they've more or less declared the Corona Virus epidemic over. They've found the levels to run their 5G equipment at '' so that it lowers population, cuts fertility and lowers life span but not too obviously. They don't need the CV cover story any longer. While in Europe 5G is just beginning, and they will be firing it at the urban target areas and awaiting the results. Italy is just the first.
One other clue is the lack of 5G phones. If they're launching 5G why are there no 5G phones available, you might wonder? The reason is that if people had 5G phones they would know 5G beams are being fired. At this stage they don't want people to know what they're doing. You'll see phones in the shops after the supposed virus is over. Don't get back to worrying about the non-existent virus. CV is simply pneumonia, with its name changed to Corona Virus by order of the WHO.
Here's the sort of stuff you read about 5G phones in the media. This from 14th Feb.
Huawei's Mate X foldable phone was supposed to be released last year but it hasn't yet appeared. It was previously announced as coming to Vodafone and EE in the UK. It won't be cheap even if it does appear '' the global announcement pinned it at '‚¬2,299 with 8GB RAM and 512GB storage.
Huawei is also providing a 5G home router '' we've seen this in action '' called the 5G CPE Pro router. Vodafone, Three and EE are stocking this in the UK; Vodafone is marketing it as 5G GigaCube.
Anthrax Vaccine -- posts by Meryl Nass, M.D.: Michael Osterholm on flu shots: "It's all a sales job; it's all public relations" / NY Times
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 16:16
I missed this November article on flu shots from the NY Times blog.  Yes, it repeats material I have covered before.  But as healthcare workers continue to be fired from their jobs for refusing flu shots, I will continue to post on why their firings make no sense. Here are excerpts: It’s flu -shot season, and public health officialsare urging everyone over 6 months of age to get one. Many businesses provideon-site flu shots, and some hospitals have told staff members that they have towear masks if they do not get the vaccine. By 2020, United States healthleaders want 80 percent of the population to get yearly shots.  For vaccine manufacturers, it’s a bonanza: Influenza shots — given every year, unlikemany other vaccines — are a multibillion-dollar global business. But how good are they? Last month,, in a step tantamount to heresy in the public healthworld, scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy atthe University of Minnesota released a report saying that influenza vaccinations provide only modest protectionfor healthy young and middle-age adults, and little if any protection for those65 and older, who are most likely to succumb to the illness or itscomplications. Moreover, the report’s authors concluded, federal vaccinationrecommendations, which have expanded in recent years, are based on inadequateevidence and poorly executed studies. “We have overpromoted and overhyped this vaccine,” said MichaelT. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research andPolicy, as well as its Center of Excellence for Influenza Research andSurveillance. “It does not protect as promoted. It’s all a sales job: it’s allpublic relations.”   Dr. Osterholm, who says he is concerned that confidence incurrent vaccines deters research into identifying more effective agents, comesfrom the world of public health and the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention. A bioterrorism and public health preparedness adviser to TommyThompson, the former health and human services secretary, he served on theinterim management team during a transition period at the C.D.C. in 2002. “I’m an insider,” Dr. Osterholm said. “Until we started thisproject, I was one of the people out there heavily promoting influenza vaccine use. It was only with thisstudy that I looked and said, ‘What are we doing?’ ”   … While researching the report released last month, Dr.Osterholm said, the authors discovered a recurring error in influenza vaccinestudies that led to an exaggeration of the vaccine’s effectiveness. They alsodiscovered 30 inaccuracies in the statement on influenza vaccines put forth bythe expert panel that develops vaccine recommendations, all of which favor thevaccine.   … (When the vaccine matches the circulating viruses, 33 adultsneed to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms; when there isonly a partial match, 100 people must be vaccinated for the same effect.) Itwas also concluded that the vaccines appear to have no effect on hospitaladmissions, transmission or rates of complications. A separate Cochrane reviewon vaccines for the elderly determined the evidence was so scant and of suchpoor quality that it could not provide guidance.   … Another option for those who want to reduce their risk ofinfluenza and flulike infections may be simply this: Wash your hands moreoften. There is good evidence this works.
Flu Shots, Fosamax and Pharmaceutical Fakery: The Common Use of Misleading and Deceptive Statistics - Global Research
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 16:15
Several years ago there was a temporary media buzz generated by an October 2011 article in The Lancet Infectious Disease journal, which is a pro-vaccine, pro-pharmaceutical industry medical journal that is published in Britain. The article showed that flu vaccinations were far less effective than had been previously believed. In fact, the study suggested that the trivalent flu vaccine currently being pushed at that time approached worthlessness.
The article's principle author was Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, a widely published infectious disease researcher who, prior to his current faculty position at the University of Minnesota, had served in various capacities with the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), including a high-profile role as the MDH's Chief of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section. For 15 years of that association with the MDH Osterholm served as Minnesota state epidemiologist. Osterholm has published over 300 articles and is highly respected in his field.
The Disconnect Between Real, Unbiased Science and Profit-focused Corporate Propaganda
The Lancet study, in the reports that I listened to on NPR and read about in various print media reports, was deceptively reported as showing that the trivalent flu vaccines should still be regarded as ''moderately effective'' for flu prevention rather than being brought into question as the minimally effective vaccine that the article suggested. What could explain the disconnect between the science and the propaganda?
Seeing no sign of a public retraction from Osterholm or his co-authors about the glaring misperceptions, I began to wonder if they were even aware that they had stooped to the depths that so many other medical, psychiatric and pharmaceutical industry researchers have gone to when their articles are published in mainstream medical journals. Misleading statistics that have appeared in medical journals are also used in drug commercials and by drug sales representatives when they try to convince us physicians to prescribe their company's synthetic drugs.
What I am talking about is the common statistical trick of the trade called the Relative Risk Reduction [RRR], a statistic that intentionally inflates embarrassingly low or even statistically insignificant results that had been obtained from dubious research studies.
What the public deserves to be informed about, but usually doesn't receive, is the far more meaningful Absolute/Actual Risk Reduction [ARR] numbers, which, compared to the RRR, are often so small and unconvincing that any rational thinker would regard the study as a failed one. Hence, the cunning invention of the misleading RRR. I will deal with the important mathematical differences further below.
The Deceptive Relative Risk Reduction Statistic
A lot of medical research these days is done by academic scientists that may not be clinicians. The vast majority of these researchers, estimated to represent over 80% of the medical research that is currently being done, are in the employ of the for-profit drug and medical device industries. The research articles that list them as authors are frequently written by ghost-writers who are salaried by the corporations that designed and funded the study. And what should worry everybody is the fact that the self-interested corporations have exclusive control over how the research is utilized. Whoever pays the piper, calls the tune.
The researchers involved in such studies are naturally highly motivated to help rapidly get to market the products they are working on, with the additional hope that any positive results that they can generate will increase the value of any stock holdings that may be part of their compensation package. Additional contracts with the pharmaceutical company will be more likely if negatives are not found. I hasten to add that there is nothing wrong with making money in an ethical and honest manner, but a lot of medical research intentionally overstates the positives of the products that are being marketed and minimizes, or even hides, the negatives of their new drugs, vaccines or medical devices.
One of the problems alluded to above is the widespread use of the grossly misleading statistic called the Relative Risk Reduction (RRR). It is important for consumers of new drugs or medical devices to understand the differences between the RRR and the ARR. Usually, if the differences are mentioned at all, they are only noted in the fine print.
The Lancet article that revealed the lack of efficacy of flu shots did indeed report a ''60% efficacy rate'', and that phrase was prominently reported in the media, which pointed out the commonly-accepted past estimates of 90% efficacy. The problem was that both the 60% and the 90% figures were intentionally misleading RRR stats. But what wasn't reported in the media coverage was the fact that the actual risk reduction (ARR) for the flu shots was a miniscule 1.5%. If that figure had been used, people would have balked at consenting to the shot. And, as any honest, non-co-opted, thinking person can see, the difference between the misleading figure of 60% and the real figure of 1.5% is huge '' and, as ever, represents just another cunning statistical trick that is used to promote highly profitable products, that, incidentally, can also be toxic.
Blowing the Whistle on Deceptive Advertising in Medicine
Seeing the truth of the matter and hearing the misleading media interpretation, I knew that some somebody needed to blow the whistle. Hence this article.
One of the reasons to be truthful about flu vaccine efficacy is the fact that the benefits for the elderly have been consistently exaggerated over the years, both in the medical literature and in the advertisements by medical clinics, trade associations, departments of health and the CD '' and now drugstores. Many studies have failed to show any reduction in mortality for elderly recipients of the flu shots, despite increased vaccination rates in that group (from 15% to 65% over the past 30 years). (Ref: The Lancet Infectious Diseases, October 2007)
Doing the Math
To make my point about the deceptiveness of the RRR statistic to those who are non-scientists or non-mathematicians, here is the essential math that needs to be pointed out:
In the Lancet study, there were only 357 victims of influenza among the non-vaccinated pooled sample of 13,195 that were studied. That means that only 2.7 persons out of every 100 non-vaccinated persons (2.7%) got symptoms compatible with the flu, meaning that 97.3% of unvaccinated people did not get the flu despite not getting the shot. Good odds that many people would accept if they had known the actual risks (ARR) of forgoing the shot.
The study also states that 1.2% of the vaccinated population still got flu symptoms even after having received the shot. So 98.8% of people who were vaccinated did not get the flu (virtually identical to the 97.3% of non-vaccinated people that didn't get the flu or the flu shot).
Simple subtraction tells us that only a tiny percentage of flu shot recipients, 1.5% (98.8 '' 97.3 = 1.5), benefited from getting the shot and that approximately 98% would not have become sick with the flu whether or not they were vaccinated. Again, a risk many people would be willing to take if they were told the truth!
Here is more about how the RRR statistical trick is calculated, using the flu vaccine study results:
Relative risk reduction is calculated by dividing the 1.5% number above by 2.7%, which equals a seemingly large number of 55%, (which was rounded up to get the talking point figure of 60%). To get the more meaningful ARR of 1.2%, one subtracts 1.5% from 2.7%. Therefore the calculated benefit (the ''absolute/actual risk reduction'') for getting the flu shot is a miniscule figure.
Knowing that there are a number of studies that show that taking adequate doses of the far cheaper and safer vitamin D3 during the winter months can give definite protection from the flu, one realizes that there are alternatives to being vaccinated.
Another important point that needs to be emphasized is the fact that the 98 % of the vaccinated population who weren't going to get the flu anyway were unnecessarily being injected with mercury, the most toxic ingredient in the intra-muscular viral influenza shot. The following potentially dangerous ingredients of vaccines such as the pneumovax shots that are acknowledged to be in other vaccines are formaldehyde, aluminum, immune system-stimulating adjuvants like squalene, mycoplasma contaminants, viral contaminants, DNA fragments, trace minerals and who knows what else?
Fosamax and Many Other Osteoporosis Drugs Prospered Because of Statistical Trickery '' Until The Drug-makers Started Getting Sued
Fosamax, manufactured and marketed by Merck & Co (of Vioxx infamy) was the first of a number of popular and highly profitable, allegedly ''osteoporosis prevention'' drugs that, in addition to many other as yet unknown or unappreciated long-term adverse effects, interfered with a patient's fragile, complex and incompletely understood bone metabolism.
scan: Reuters, December 9, 2013
The drug had been proven to increase bone ''density'' in some patients, but increasing density did not necessarily mean increases bone ''strength''. The most dramatic adverse effect of this class of drugs was the disastrous osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical femoral fractures, for which Merck has been inundated with lawsuits (4,400 as of June 2016). GlaxoSmithKline which markets Boniva, has also been inundated with lawsuits.
The infamous proclamations that Merck made deceptively asserting that ''Fosamax reduces hip fractures by 50%'' was based on the misleading ''relative'' hip fracture relative risk reduction (RRR) calculation that came from the original 4-year clinical trial. What was intentionally not mentioned in Merck's massive marketing campaign was that the actual risk reduction (ARR) for Fosamax was only 1% (not 50%), which is a minuscule figure unlikely to benefit the vast majority of the elderly women who took the drug continuously for 4 years.
The Fosamax hip fracture study was conducted on a group of older women who were regarded as being at high risk for future fractures. In the Fosamax-treated patients, 1 out of every 100 patients suffered hip fractures after 4 years '' an incidence of 1% '' whereas 2 out of every 100 non-drugged patients suffered hip fractures, an incidence of 2%.
To come up with the misleading RRR calculation, the deceptive statistician (or the commonly sociopathic Big Pharma corporate type) divides 1% by 2% and comes up with a 50% reduction '' relatively speaking. But in order to deceive us physicians in order to convince us of the value of prescribing such a worthless drug and dangerous drug, the actual miniscule risk reduction figure '' 1% '' had to be kept well-hidden.
The Merck, et al deceptive statistics also means that 98% of non-drug treated patients did not get a hip fracture after 4 years of Fosamax treatment, and 99% of Fosamax drug-treated patients likewise did not get a hip fracture, thus receiving no benefit from taking the toxic and costly drug. 80% of media ads deceptively claimed that ''Fosamax cut the risk (of hip fractures in elderly women) by 50%'' And not many of us physicians saw through the clever subterfuge!!
I have to admit that I was as fooled as the rest of us Big Pharma-brain-washed physicians until I finally figured out the mathematical trickery. In my defense, I was always suspicious that the 50% figure was a lie, and I never did prescribe Fosamax. In fact I have ever consistently boycotted Merck and any other Big Pharma corporation that has tried to deceive me (ie, all of them).
Again it must be emphasized that 98 '' 99% of elderly patients in the Fosamax clinical trial no hip fractures, whether they were in the drug group or in the placebo group. But the treated group risked experiencing disastrous adverse effects, some of which are incurable and incur terrible suffering and medical expenses, including Osteonecrosis of the Jaw/Dead Jaw Syndrome, Atypical Femoral Fractures, Esophageal Cancer, Atrial Fibrillation, and Severe Musculoskeletal Pain, all consequences that the untreated group were not at risk for.
An important reality is that the pharmaceutical companies use the RRR deception routinely, whether they are marketing medications, surgical procedures, medical devices, psychiatric diagnostic assessments or even non-drug psychotherapeutic treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, etc.
Fully Informed Consent: Is it a Thing of the Past?
Being fully informed about all the pros and cons of any diagnostic assessment, drug treatment, medical device usage or surgical procedure used to be the sole obligation of the involved health care provider. Nowadays it seems that such health information is being taken over by the propaganda techniques of cunning mega-corporations who can afford to pay the billions of dollars for propagandizing patients and their physicians, for lobbying Congresspersons and presidents to enact favorable legislation and to pay the costs of the inevitable and expected lawsuits for damages done when the injured patient hadn't been given fully informed consent before being victimized by the ''treatment''. Nowadays patients are propagandized to demand advertised drugs from their doctors.
Only in America would one expect it be legal to allow the mainstream to promote dangerous pharmaceuticals directly to prospective. Oops, New Zealand (?) is doing it too, but the US and NZ are the only two nations on the planet that allow Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) marketing of prescription drugs. In every other developed nation DTC marketing of prescription drugs is against the law.
There is hardly a glimmer of good news in American medicine today, in that the spirit of Hippocrates (he who first declared the ''First Do No Harm'' code of medical ethics) seems to be on its death bed '' ever since the sociopathic, profits-before-people Big Pharma seduced Big Medicine and spoiled the previously honorable practice of medicine that I once loved.
Our patients have been rapidly losing trust and respect for America's corporate-style practice of medicine, which has been consciously morphing into an unaffordable, hard-hearted, dog-eat-dog, let-the-buyer-beware, bankrupting imitation of ''greed-is-good'' Wall Street.
If Hippocrates suddenly appeared on the scene today, I doubt that he would recognize what he once tried to dignify 2,500 years ago.
Dr Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN, USA. In the decade prior to his retirement, he practiced what could best be described as ''holistic (non-drug) and preventive mental health care''. Since his retirement, he has written a weekly column for the Duluth Reader, an alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns mostly deal with the dangers of American imperialism, friendly fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, and the dangers of Big Pharma, psychiatric drugging, the over-vaccinating of children and other movements that threaten American democracy, civility, health and longevity and the future of the planet. Many of his columns are archived at;; or at
Michael Osterholm - Wikipedia
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 16:05
Michael T. Osterholm is a public health scientist and a biosecurity and infectious disease expert in the United States.[1] Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota and a Regents Professor, the McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School,[2] all at the University of Minnesota.[3] He is also on the Board of Regents at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.[4]
Michael Osterholm
Ph.D., M.P.H.
Michael Osterholm
NationalityAmericanScientific careerFieldsPublic healthInstitutionsCenter for Infectious Disease Research and PolicyCareer Edit From 1975 to 1999, Osterholm served in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), including as state epidemiologist and Chief of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section from 1984 to 1999. While at the MDH, Osterholm strengthened the departments role in infectious disease epidemiology, notably including numerous foodborne disease outbreaks, the association between tampons and toxic shock syndrome (TSS), and the transmission of hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in healthcare workers. Other work included studies regarding the epidemiology of infectious diseases in child-care settings, vaccine-preventable diseases (particularly Haemophilus influenzae type b and hepatitis B), Lyme disease, and other emerging and re-emerging infections.[3]
From 2001 through early 2005, Osterholm, in addition to his role at CIDRAP, served as a Special Advisor to then''HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. In April 2002, Osterholm was appointed to the interim management team to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), until the eventual appointment of Julie Gerberding as director on July 3, 2002. Osterholm was asked by Thompson to assist Gerberding on his behalf during the transition period. He filled that role through January 2003.[3]
Osterholm was appointed by Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity in 2005.[3]
Biosecurity Edit Osterholm has been particularly outspoken on the lack of international prepardness for an influenza pandemic.[5][6] Osterholm has also been an international leader against the use of biological agents as weapons targeted toward civilians. In that role, he served as a personal advisor to the late King Hussein of Jordan. Under Osterholm's leadership, CIDRAP has served as a partner in the Department of Homeland Security's BioWatch program since 2003.[3][7]
Books and other publications Edit In March 2017 Osterholm and coauthor Mark Olshaker published the critically acclaimed Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs.[8][9][10] Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone and The Demon in the Freezer, writes of the book, "When Osterholm tells us that the potential for global pandemics is a life-or-death issue for every person on the planet, we need to listen. Deadliest Enemy is a powerful and necessary book that looks at the threat of emerging diseases with clarity and realism, and offers us not just fear but plans."[11] In April 2017 MinnPost published a two-part interview with Osterholm about the book.[12][13]
In 2001, Osterholm provided a review of America's state of preparedness for a bioterrorism attack in his New York Times best-selling book, Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe.[citation needed ]
His invited papers in the journals Foreign Affairs, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature detailed the threat of an influenza pandemic before the 2009-10 pandemic and the steps we must take to better prepare for such events. He has also published multiple commentaries in The New York Times, most recently on the repercussions of reductions in funding for research and vaccine development, and how this affects our ability to respond to new infectious disease threats.[14] He is the author of more than 315 papers and abstracts, including 21 book chapters.[3]
Honors Edit Osterholm has received honorary doctorates from Luther College[15] and Des Moines University,[16] and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.[3] His other honors are the Pumphandle Award from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE); the Charles C. Shepard Science Award from the CDC; the Harvey W. Wiley Medal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the Squibb Award from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA); Distinguished University Teaching Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota; and the Wade Hampton Frost Leadership Award, American Public Health Association. He also has been the recipient of six major research awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the CDC.[3]
Other roles Edit Osterholm is a frequently invited guest lecturer on the topic of epidemiology of infectious diseases. He serves on the editorial boards of nine journals, including Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology and Microbial Drug Resistance: Mechanisms, Epidemiology and Disease, and he is a reviewer for 24 additional journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Science.[3]
Osterholm was the Principal Investigator and Director of the NIH-supported Minnesota Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (2007-2014) and chaired the Executive Committee of the Centers of Excellence Influenza Research and Surveillance network.[17]
He is past president of the CSTE and has served on the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases Board of Scientific Counselors from 1992 to 1997. Osterholm served on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Forum on Microbial Threats from 1994 through 2011. He has served on the IOM Committee on Emerging Microbial Threats to Health in the 21st Century and the IOM Committee on Food Safety, Production to Consumption, and he was a reviewer for the IOM Report on Chemical and Biological Terrorism. As a member of the American Society for Microbiology, Osterholm has served on the Committee on Biomedical Research of the Public and Scientific Affairs Board, the Task Force on Biological Weapons, and the Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance. He is a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization, the NIH, the FDA, the Department of Defense, and the CDC. He is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and the IDSA.[3]
Selected publications Edit Deadliest enemy : our war against killer germs. Washington County Library ISBN 9780316343695References Edit External links Edit CIDRAPCIDRAP profile for Michael Osterholm, CIDRAP DirectorNCFPDDepartment of Homeland Security BiowatchVideo: Olsterholm speaks on pandemic risks and preparation, Nobel Conference 42 (2006), Gustavus UniversityInterview with Peter Shea at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, March, 2011
Gieren: Nederlandse gezegdes vertaald in het Engels - Trendalert
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 14:58
Het is het leukste wat er is: Nederlanders die Engels (willen) spreken, maar het niet kunnen. Je kent het wel... zo'n 'Louis van Gaaltje'. Wanneer gezegdes of spreekwoorden letterlijk vertaald worden, kunnen er hilarische zinnen ontstaan en dat werkt op je lachspieren! We werden op de redactie ge¯nspireerd door onderstaande afbeelding en gingen vervolgens zelf even los! Lees en lach!
- Make that the cat wise (klassieker!)
- And then the monkey comes out of the sleeve
- When one sheap is over the dam, the others follow
- What a dog weather
- I really need to turn a laundry
- That's another bisquit
- What a screamer
- Give him from cotton
- We are walking behind the facts
- Don't let them take you by the nose
- Go your gang
- I'm crazy Henk, not!
- Joost may know
- That comes for the baker
- From here to Tokyo
- Not normal, man!
- The points on the i
- Laughing as a farmer with choosepain
- It smells an hour in the wind
- I am monkeyproud
- I don't stand here for Jan with the short last name
Weet jij nog leuke vertalingen?
Beeld: Getty Images
A boom in translation is bringing podcast stories to a global audience >> Nieman Journalism Lab
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 11:19
March 10, 2020, 10:56 a.m.
Plus: Sony's podcast play vis- -vis Spotify, the coronavirus lurks in revenue projections, and what is a Gimlet show, anyway?
Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 249, dated March 10, 2020.
Spotify's Gimlet Media hires a new head of content. That person is Lydia Polgreen, the New York Times veteran who spent the last three years as editor-in-chief of HuffPost. Confirming the move on Twitter Friday morning, Polgreen wrote: ''Gimlet has built the greatest audio team in the world, and I'm so lucky to have the chance to learn from them. Together we have the opportunity to chart the future of the spoken word on the world's most powerful audio platform.''
Some news!
'-- Lydia Polgreen (@lpolgreen) March 6, 2020
I'm told that Polgreen will report to Alex Blumberg and that she'll be responsible for overseeing the division's entire slate, including ''strategic planning and setting a creative vision for the studio.'' As for HuffPost, The Daily Beast noted that she did not announce a successor when she informed her team of the move on Friday. Polgreen will begin her time at Spotify sometime later in the spring.
It's a splashy personnel move, the kind that gets picked up by both the entertainment trades and The New York Times and Axios alike. But it's also a curious one, given the absence of audio work on Polgreen's resume and her broader positioning as a modern newsroom leader. We're still very early with this development, but the immediate temptation is to view this hire as indication that we may get a newsier Gimlet '-- more news podcasts perhaps? more investigative documentaries? more gunning for those Pulitzers and Peabodys? '-- whenever the Polgreen tenure begins. Then again, it's probably too early for any pigeonholing right now.
Still, thinking through this hire made me bump up against an old question: What is Gimlet Media these days, anyway?
There was a time when I could articulate, at least to myself, what a ''Gimlet show'' was. Put simply, a Gimlet podcast was what you get when you take the core proposition of a standard public radio podcast (often narrative, but not always), remove the burdens of a certain cautiousness, and see where it takes you. The end result was Gimlet's early slate of releases, which is near-legendary. It included the first season of StartUp, Reply All, Heavyweight, Mystery Show, The Nod, and Science Vs, a cluster that felt truly producer-centric '-- as in, let's take a native audio talent who has been traditionally undersupported and really find out what that person can do '-- which still felt like a revelation in that 2015''2017 stretch.
When I think about those early shows, I see color. Not in the conventional sense of how that word is typically deployed in these kinds of columns; one thing that Gimlet has previously been criticized for is its whiteness. I mean, like, synesthetically: When I think of that early slate, I tend to imagine splotches of color. There was a fizz to those shows, a lightness that makes listening to them feel warm and engaging and hopeful. You can still get this from Reply All, which just this past week dropped an all-timer of an episode. And you could even access some aspects of it when the subject matter was significantly heavier, as in the case of Uncivil, which was developed with external talent Chenjerai Kumanyika and Jack Hitt, and Crimetown, which was forged through a partnership with the documentarians Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier.
(Smerling and Stuart-Pontier would go on to create their own podcast imprint called Crimetown Presents, which is run through Cadence13 and not affiliated with Gimlet Media. One of its more recent releases, The Ballad of Billy Balls, exhibits some of this producer-centricity.)
You're free to j'accuse me of concern-trolling, but I feel there's significant distance between those original launches and more recent batches of Gimlet releases. To be clear, I'm not talking about quality; almost all of the latter-day productions, in particular The Cut on Tuesdays (co-produced with New York Magazine) and Story Pirates, have vivid points of merit. Rather, I'm talking about identity '-- cynically, the #brand '-- and, as an extension of that, I have some trouble connecting Gimlet's creative present with its past. I'm also having trouble cleanly articulating the qualities that differentiate it from an ever-broadening horizon of competitors, many of them infinitely capable.
I guess I know how we got here, roughly speaking. We were told, in that last season of StartUp narrating their sale to Spotify, that the type of stuff they used to want to make was expensive to produce and hard to monetize. And so they sought to switch things up, which resulted in these partnerships and Hollywood-friendly fiction shows and a vastly prolific branded-content department. Which is all perfectly understandable. I'm just having a hard time clearly telling what makes that audio team the greatest team in the world when you have, you know, Radiotopia and NPR and The Ringer and Pineapple Street and The New York Times, among so many others.
It's often been argued in my general direction that ordinary media consumers don't give two shits about the identity of a podcast network (or book publisher or a film studio or whatever). That normal people won't care if something's a Gimlet podcast or a Pineapple podcast or an NPR podcast '-- they just want what they want. The ''good stuff.'' I've never bought that. In my mind, that would be the result of major failures in branding, marketing, and effective communication of what these creative companies stand for. In any case, to argue for that interpretation of mass listeners is to dismiss the segments of listeners who do care about such things '-- high-quality consumers to engage with '-- while deprioritizing the important work of publishers figuring out their place in a saturated universe.
More to the point, though, the question of Gimlet Media's creative identity matters within the context of its own parent company. Onstage at the Hot Pod Summit last Thursday, Gimlet co-founder Matt Lieber '-- now Spotify's head of podcast studios and operations '-- spent some time talking about how Spotify's current podcast production is spread across four divisions: Gimlet, Parcast, The Ringer, and the Spotify Originals banner. Parcast and The Ringer have sharp identities, each shop with its own distinct aesthetics, sensibilities, functions, and goals. Meanwhile, the Spotify Originals brand has a Swiss-army-knife quality, shouldering the responsibility of being purposefully broad and being able to hold new partnerships and projects that are obviously valuable but are unhoused internally, brand-wise. (Shoutout to Kevin Bacon.)
Held up against two sister divisions with strong identities, another division that covers all other bases, and an ever-competitive universe of competitors '-- what is a Gimlet podcast supposed to be? And under Polgreen's tenure, what will it become?
Language lessons [by Caroline Crampton]. A new true crime podcast caught my eye this week: The Nobody Zone, which is a co-production between Ireland's RT‰ and Denmark's Third Ear. It covers the alleged crimes of Irishman Kieran Patrick Kelly on the London Underground between 1953 and 1983. But it wasn't the content of this six-part series that piqued my interest, but rather the fact that the show is being released simultaneously in five different languages: English, Danish, Spanish, German, and Irish.
The trend for multilingual podcasts has really accelerated in the past year. Building on the existing work of shows like Radio Ambulante, Radio Atlas, and the Spotify/Vice collaboration Chapo, last August two big U.S. podcast publishers '-- Wondery and iHeartMedia '-- each announced that they were beginning to make their shows available in languages other than English. Wondery started by translating Dr. Death into Spanish, Castilian Spanish, German, French, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Korean, while iHeart put together a slate (including Stuff You Should Know and Stuff You Missed in History Class) to be translated into ''Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French, German, and more'' beginning in early 2020.
The case for translation is clear for these big English-language providers. Translating and rerecording episodes with new voice talent is a moderate one-off cost, but it makes the shows accessible to millions more people in markets where podcast listening is really ramping up, such as South America and India. Not only are there plenty of listeners to acquire there, but via local distribution and monetization deals, these new language editions of existing shows can bring in fresh ad dollars.
But I'm also keen to understand how multilingual expansion looks from the perspective of independent podcasters. Translation and revoicing costs will be out of reach for most smaller creators, but there are producers working to bake multilingual options into their shows from the beginning of production.
Lory Martinez is one such '-- a Colombian American from Queens, she's now based in Paris and last year founded her own production house, Studio Ochenta, aiming primarily to produce multilingual podcasts, although the outfit is also making branded podcasts and providing consulting services as part of the business. Martinez works with a team of about 10 freelance producers around the world to make her shows.
This outfit's flagship production to date is Mija, a fiction podcast that exists in English, Spanish, and French. The first series of eight 10-minute episodes centers on the titular Mija, the daughter of Colombian immigrants in New York City, who tells her family's immigration stories. When I spoke to Martinez last week, she explained that she had deliberately designed Studio Ochenta's formats to work well for multiple languages. ''It's basically designed for multilingual. All of our shows are narrative, mostly single voice,'' she explained.
Both Mija's subject matter and the decision to work in fiction were also made with translation in mind. ''It's really all about being able to really recognize a universal story and being able to adapt it locally,'' she said. ''For me, that was an immigration story. Every market is looking at an influx of immigration, and refugee migration stories are in the news every day. It's something that's top of mind for people [everywhere]. And I chose a Latin American, Latinx immigration story because it was my own.'' Storytelling around language itself is also in the ascendance at the moment, with shows like James Kim's Moonface exploring a relationship between two people who don't share a language.
Aside from helping podcasts reach more people, multilingual expansion has a strong educational impetus. Martinez has heard from people using Mija to practice their language skills, saying that providing transcripts really helps. Another Studio Ochenta production, How Not to Travel, is more in this didactic mode. The Nobody Zone, especially in its Irish version, also acknowledges this with RT‰ providing subtitled versions on YouTube. Language-learning app Duolingo is also making podcasts specifically for this purpose, producing easy to follow nonfiction stories in Spanish and French.
Martinez said that independent podcasters in the U.S. should be more aware that they already have listeners all over the world and consider taking advantage of it: ''You already have an international audience. Why not tap into the rest of it?'' She did caution, however, that the CPM-based advertising model commonly used in America isn't applicable everywhere, and that some markets are smaller than others. ''Different economic models are going to come up with this new growth, I think, because CPM models don't work for every market,'' she said. ''In some places, it's more about the value of the listener.''
For Martinez, multilingual production is closely tied to the nature of the content she wants to produce '-- she's not translating anything just for the sake of it. The second season of Mija will come out in May, and will be available in a fourth language: Mandarin. ''It's because the story is gonna be about a Franco-Chinese Mija and her family's immigration journey,'' she explained. ''We're adding the Chinese not just because the Chinese market is big or anything like that. It's because it fits the story.'' It's an ambitious blueprint, but one I suspect we'll begin to see other independent podcasters following.
What does Sony Music Entertainment want with podcasts? As you may or may not know, I help publish Water+Music, Cherie Hu's fantastic newsletter on innovation in the music business, and I had Cherie join me onstage during last week's Hot Pod Summit '-- yes, a second namecheck, sorry '' to co-moderate a session on Sony Music's recent excursions into podcasting, which now includes a joint venture with ThreeUncannyFour and investments in Neon Hum Media, along with the U.K.'s Broccoli Content and Somethin' Else.
From that conversation, she produced this great column, where she gives considerable meat to the argument that Sony Music's increasing involvement in podcasting is a direct competitive response to Spotify.
Here's an excerpt:
Spotify now has a stake in almost every source of value in the podcast industry: content (production companies), distribution (streaming platforms) and monetization (ad technology and marketplaces). This verticalization likely gives Spotify more leverage in licensing negotiations with Sony Music and other major record labels.
But I think Sony is essentially betting that it can erode that position of power by diversifying its own content and intellectual property into the kinds of verticals that Spotify might need most, especially beyond music.
''We've got certain things up our sleeves that would touch different verticals for our partners, which is a slight shift'' from how the label side of Sony Music traditionally engaged with streaming services, said [vice president of podcast marketing Christy] Mirabal. In other words, future Sony Music-backed podcast projects could live, say, within the sports or comedy verticals on Spotify, instead of being delegated by default to music.
Mirabal also insisted that Spotify is ''a very important partner of ours,'' rather than a competitor. But as of now, Sony Music isn't making any podcast-specific revenue directly from Spotify (yet); rather, it's pulling in revenue from traditional ad deals off-platform, as most other podcasts in the world do today. This is a stark contrast to music, in which Sony is likely making between 10 and 15 percent of its recorded-music revenue from its direct licensing deal with Spotify alone (assuming directionally similar finances to those of its major-label rivals).
Hence, I don't think it's unfounded to assume that Sony Music and Spotify are competing directly '-- for listening time, for ad dollars, and especially for talent.
Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing here. And then subscribe to her newsletter.
Manoush Zomorodi will begin her run as host of the TED Radio Hour this Friday, replacing longtime host Guy Raz, who you can still find in another corner of the NPR podcast universe asking various successful people how they built stuff.
One more detail to note about this story: In addition to taking over TED Radio Hour hosting duties, Zomorodi's independent podcast effort ZigZag is also joining the TED family of podcasts. That arrangement takes the shape of a partnership: Zomorodi still co-owns the show with her business partner Jen Poyant under the Stable Genius Productions banner, while TED will primarily operate as a marketing and sponsorship partner.
ZigZag was originally launched as a show within the Radiotopia family. It isn't exactly a full split: PRX, which operates Radiotopia, also serves as a distributor for TED's audio portfolio.
I asked Zomorodi how her perspective on starting a podcast business has changed since starting Stable Genius in mid 2018. ''As long as COVID-19 doesn't destroy marketing budgets, there are many more opportunities to be a podcast 'entrepreneur''' these days, she wrote back. ''And it's become a wide spectrum: On one end, some people want to build a production house with a slate of shows. On the other end, there's real demand for solo-preneurs who can make podcasts for businesses or other talent.''
She added: ''I think the hardest is right in the middle '-- launching an independent, high-quality show and breaking through this saturated market is TOUGH. I'd like to see more small but mighty podcasts succeed because they emphasize quality over quantity. Maybe one day 'just make more episodes' won't be the only answer to a financial problem.''
A forever echo of what's happening everywhere else, which is the death of the middle.
Revolving door. Cond(C) Nast Entertainment, the entertainment and IP-repackaging arm of the prestige magazine publisher, has hired an executive producer of podcasts: Alex Kapelman, who you might know as the co-creator of Pitch (not to be confused with The Pitch, which itself should not be confused with Shark Tank), and who I know as the guy who made that one podcast where he tried to bail on the Knicks in search of a new NBA team to root for.
Anyway, those curious about this whole business with Cond(C) Nast Entertainment and podcasts should check out this Digiday writeup from last month. FRANCHISES, BABY, ALL ABOUT THOSE FRANCHISES.
COVID-19 and advertising. As above, so below. Which is to say, what happens in Big Advertising will at some point impact us here. On that note, some things to mull over:
(1) From CNBC: ''Experts told CNBC that if the spread of coronavirus continues significantly, that could result in increased ad spending in areas such as mobile gaming or streaming services if consumers end up spending more time at home amid the outbreak, while ad spend could decrease in areas such as out-of-home advertising.''
(2) From Digiday's Max Willens: ''As interest in Coronavirus has surged globally, publishers have launched a fleet of popup products focused on the disease, including popup newsletters, podcasts, live blogs, and even a text messaging service. But a publisher's ability to monetize those products is limited.''
Lower house approves amendment lifting restrictions on number of presidential terms
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 11:06
MOSCOW, March 10. /TASS/. Russia's State Duma (lower house of parliament) voted on Tuesday to approve the constitutional amendment submitted by lawmaker from the United Russia party Valentina Tereshkova on lifting restrictions on the number of presidential terms.
According to the initiative, the amendment "applies to an individual who held and (or) holds the position of the Russian president, without taking into account the number of terms, during which he held and (or) holds this position at the time when the amendment to the Russian Constitution comes into force," and does not rule out an opportunity for him or her to hold the position of the head of state again.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the lower house of parliament saying that lifting restrictions on the number of presidential terms was inexpedient. However, Putin said that he thought it possible to amend the Constitution that theoretically would enable him to run for another presidential term. However, in his words, such an amendment is to be assessed by the Constitutional Court.
'They've got him THIS time!' Jonathan Chait giddy at the thought of the Wuhan Virus 'finishing' Trump off politically
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 11:06
Good ol' Jonathan Chait, keeping it classy as always.
Lots of events *should* have finished Trump off politically. But I think this is finally the thing that will.
'-- Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) March 9, 2020
Can you imagine the fit the Left would've thrown if conservative-leaning journos had so nonchalantly talked about things 'finishing Obama off politically'? Especially a virus? OMG, the accusations of racism and fascism and every other 'ism' out there would have been off the charts.
But you know, since it's Trump it's ok.
From NY Mag:
It is possible that the public health and economic catastrophes that loom so large at the moment will be gone by autumn. It is even possible that they will remain and Trump will somehow survive anyway. (After all, the mayor in Jaws had somehow retained his position in Jaws 2. And he was still minimizing shark risks!)
But it seems more likely that Trump has finally made his unfitness for office so blatant that even his own supporters will notice. The American economy, its health infrastructure, and perhaps more are plunging into foreseeable crisis. And every step Trump has taken along the way seems almost calculated to expose him to maximal blame. Trump is now quite likely to lose his reelection, and we will look back at the last few weeks as the time when he sealed his own fate.
What an ass.
Sorry, that's an insult to asses.
Why do I keep seeing this idea about ''ethical journalists'' over hyping COVID19 as a partisan attack on the opposition party POTUS they're not supposed to have? I mean just because you're delighted over the idea a pandemic might finally do what the voters wouldn't'...
'-- Bocephus (@lordthx1139) March 10, 2020
This editor spent a good portion of her day yesterday getting screamed at by the Left who insisted the media isn't rooting for the virus.
It's like they don't pay any attention to anything.
Democrats are getting giddy that a virus may do what Mueller and impeachment were unable to do.
'-- mallen (@mallen2010) March 9, 2020
Gross, right?
Remember the swine flu in 2009?Remember over 12,000 deaths from the swine flu?Remember how that "finished off Obama politically"?
Maybe stick with a topic you are an expert on, Johnny.
If there is one.
'-- Blue State Snooze (@BlueSnoozeBlue) March 10, 2020
We're not sure what that would be.
Fair point.
I hear the walls are closing in.
'-- Russell Flowers (@ChoralReave) March 10, 2020
Congratulations, Jonathan!
'-- ðŸO'DhonnabhainðŸ...‰ (@ODhonnabhain) March 10, 2020
They'll get him this time!
Hot MESS, aisle 5! AOC's attempt to roast Rep. Paul Gosar about 'dying' belongs in the BACKFIRE Hall of Fame
SCUMBAG alert: WaPo-selected 'tech expert' THRASHED for wishing death by #coronavirus on Trump (he tried deleting but TOO late)
So he's ignorant AND racist? HA! Woke Dr. Eugene Gu reaps ratio WHIRLWIND for his 'Wuhan virus is RACIST' self-own
Payments on mortgages to be suspended across Italy after coronavirus outbreak | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 10:47
Tue Mar 10, 2020 / 4:35 AM EDT
ROME (Reuters) - Payments on mortgages will be suspended across the whole of Italy after the coronavirus outbreak, Italy's deputy economy minister said on Tuesday.
"Yes, that will be the case, for individuals and households," Laura Castelli said in an interview with Radio Anch'io, when asked about the possibility.
Italy's banking lobby ABI said on Monday lenders representing 90% of total banking assets would offer debt moratoriums to small firms and households grappling with the economic fallout from Italy's coronavirus outbreak.
(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Giulia Segreti; editing by Agnieszka Flak)
Wuhan expects to close all makeshift hospitals around March 10 -
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 10:40
A worker disinfects the makeshift hospital built at from Wuhan Sports Center in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, on Mar 8. The makeshift hospital closed on Sunday [Photo by Ke Hao/for]Makeshift hospitals built to treat novel coronavirus infected patients with mild symptoms in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, are expected to wrap up operation around March 10, China Central Television reported on Sunday.
Since Feb 5, 14 makeshift hospitals in the city have been operating, with the longest running for 33 days, and treating more than 12,000 cases, it said.
As of Sunday afternoon, 11 of the 14 hospitals have suspended operation, with their patients either discharged or transferred to designated hospitals, it said.
For example, the makeshift hospital established at Wuhan Sports Center with 1,000 beds ceased operating on Sunday. The hospital, which opened on Feb 12, treated 1,056 patients.
There are about 100 patients still being treated in the remaining three makeshift hospitals.
Zhai Xiaohui, deputy director of the hospital management center with the National Health Commission, said: "Nearly 10,000 beds have been emptied out at the designated hospitals. From now on confirmed cases will be sent to the designated hospitals first. If they cannot handle, the makeshift hospitals will reopen."
Coronavirus: Italy suspends mortgage payments amid lockdown | The Independent
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 10:33
Payments on mortgages are to be suspended in Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak, the country's government has announced.
More than 9,000 people have been infected by Covid-19 in Italy, where the total number of reported deaths jumped to 463 on Monday '' an increase of over 25 per cent compared to the day before.
When asked about the possibility of halting mortgage payments on Radio Anch'io, Laura Castelli, the deputy economy minister, said: ''Yes, that will be the case, for individuals and households.''
Download the new Independent Premium appSharing the full story, not just the headlines
The entire country was placed on lockdown on Tuesday morning, with all public gatherings cancelled, and universities and schools closed until next month.
Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister, said that everyone in Italy would be confined to the area where they live unless they are able to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions, or other limited reasons in order to travel elsewhere.
The lockdown already in place for northern parts of the country, encompassing about 16 million people, has now been extended to the whole nation.
The restrictions are set to last until 3 April and those who break the rules risk up to three months in jail or fines of '‚¬206 (£180). '‹
Bars, restaurants and cafes across Italy are also to close at dusk as the government works to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Chaos broke out at prisons nationwide on Monday as inmates protested anti-coronavirus measures, which included restrictions on normal family visits.
Multiple prisoners died of what could be drug-related causes after people raided the pharmacy in Modena jail during the riot, officials said.
Only the best news in your inbox
Italy has been the worst-hit country in Europe by coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
British Airways said on Tuesday that it had stopped all flights to the country after the lockdown measures were announced.
As of Tuesday, 52 per cent of deaths linked to Covid-19 outside China have happened in the southern European country.
More than 114,000 people have been infected with coronavirus '' a flu-like disease that can develop into pneumonia '' across the globe, with about 4,000 reported deaths.
Additional reporting by agencies
Of Course the U.S. Will Have a Woman President - The Atlantic
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 09:40
The belief that female candidates for president face impenetrable barriers does more to perpetuate sexism than dismantle it.
7:00 AM ET Eric Thayer / The New York Tim'‹es / ReduxWith Elizabeth Warren's decision to drop out of the presidential race last week, a Democratic field that began with half a dozen female contenders is effectively down to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders'--a fact that has sparked a surge of feminist anger and dismay. On Twitter, the author and activist Amber Tamblyn urged Warren's female supporters to give themselves ''the space to grieve, and be angry, and be numb.'' But what they shouldn't do is let the Massachusetts senator's withdrawal convince them that, for female candidates, the presidency still lies beyond a glass ceiling.
At some point, the United States is going to elect a woman to the White House, and Warren's loss doesn't change that. Most of the people, male and female, who run for president are unsuccessful. That four female senators made serious bids for the 2020 Democratic nomination suggests that the pipeline of potential future nominees has grown and will continue to do so. And while subtle and not-so-subtle misogyny remains a factor in politics'--as does the opposing force of feminist passion, which surely energized Warren's campaign'--many other factors are also in play. Even highly qualified candidates fall short because they chose the wrong strategy or misread the public mood, or because their rivals are just nimbler or luckier. The belief that Warren and other women who set their sights on the White House face virtually insurmountable barriers because of their gender does more to perpetuate sexism in politics than to dismantle it.
For many, the role of gender bias as the primary factor in the collapse of the Warren candidacy'--just like in Hillary Clinton's loss to Donald Trump in 2016'--is self-evident. ''Don't tell me this isn't about sexism. I've been around too long for that,'' the feminist pundit Jessica Valenti wrote. And yet others note that fewer than a quarter of female Democratic voters in Massachusetts voted for Warren in that state's primary. Had the voters who twice elected the former Harvard Law School professor to the Senate suddenly succumbed to sexism? Even white female college graduates, her strongest demographic, gave her only a narrow plurality of 33 percent to Biden's 31 percent. Are two-thirds of them in thrall to internalized misogyny'--or might other factors have contributed to Warren's third-place finish in her own state?
Claims of a pervasively bigoted, misogynistic climate'--whether toward Warren or Clinton'--tend to rest on sweeping but largely unquantifiable and unfalsifiable assertions that female candidates are subjected to resentment and harsh scrutiny in a way that men are not. Attempts to back up these claims with data often reference a 2010 Harvard study that supposedly concluded, as the feminist philosopher Kate Manne summarized in a recent Washington Post essay, that ''men who seek power were viewed as stronger and tougher, while power-seeking women provoked feelings of disgust and contempt.''
But what did the Harvard study actually find? The researchers asked 230 American adults (two-thirds of them women) to read a short biography of a fictional state senator identified as ''John Burr'' or ''Ann Burr'' and rate him or her on various traits, including toughness and competence. Respondents also rated how much they felt various positive or negative emotions toward Burr. For half of the participants, the biography had additional heavy-handed lines discussing Burr's reputation for being ''ambitious'' and having ''a strong will to power,'' as well as a purported quote from the senator stating that ''being hungry'' is the key to political success.
The study did find that, with the ''power-seeking'' cues, the female politician's ratings became somewhat more negative while those of the male politician improved slightly. On the other hand, neither the media reports nor the authors' own summary mentioned that without those cues, ''Ann'' got markedly better ratings than ''John'' on everything, including strength and toughness. When neither was described as ostentatiously grasping for power, subjects regarded the female Burr more favorably.
And what about the ''disgust and contempt'' that Manne described? This refers to the study's measure of what the authors call ''moral outrage'' toward Senator Burr, based on the participants' self-reported feelings of disgust, contempt, or anger toward the fictional politician. In the absence of the power-seeking cues, the average moral-outrage score, on a scale of 1 to 7, was 1.23 for the woman and 1.5 for the man; with the cues, it was 1.62 for the woman and 1.45 for the man (a gap that barely reaches statistical significance when individual variation is factored in). In other words, the amount of ''moral outrage'' subjects felt in every scenario was somewhere between ''none'' and ''very little.''
Manne, who has argued that a pervasive patriarchy in America relentlessly punishes women who challenge male dominance, cites a pair of other studies, from 2004 and 2007, as potential evidence of sexist bias in politics. The gist of this research is that women who are described as highly successful in a stereotypically male job, such as financier or aircraft-company executive, tend to be rated as somewhat less likable than comparable men: In one experiment, for instance, average likability scores on a 1-to-9 scale were 6.3 for a woman and 7.3 for a man. (The advantage was reversed not only in female-typed jobs but in ones cued as gender-neutral.)
But whether this research'--conducted with groups of a few dozen undergraduate psychology students'--sheds light on actual voters' views of female candidates is an open question. In a 2009 study that approximated a real-world setting much more closely, using a sample of more than 1,100 American adults, the Dartmouth College political scientist Deborah Jordan Brooks found that people who read made-up news stories about a fictional male or female Senate candidate did not penalize women more for gaffes, tears, or displays of anger'--and that a female candidate with no prior political experience tended to be viewed more positively than a man with a similar background.
Meanwhile, in real-life congressional elections'--since as far back as the 1980s'--women who run win as often as men do. Do these women, as some have suggested, need to be better than men to do as well? Testing this proposition is virtually impossible. But some evidence suggests that being female in 21st-century America is not a disadvantage in political races. Jennifer L. Lawless, a professor of government at American University, and Danny Hayes, a professor of political science at George Washington University, carried out a detailed analysis of voter surveys and media coverage from the 2010 midterms and found that ''candidate sex does not affect journalists' coverage of, or voters' attitudes toward, the women and men running for office.''
Those data, I should note, came from congressional elections; some analysts believe that Americans who have no problem with female legislators may be more hesitant to elect women to executive positions, though the evidence remains inconclusive. ''The optimistic story that we've been telling for 15 years is not about presidential politics,'' Lawless told me in an interview two days after Warren's withdrawal. ''It might be! But we don't have systematic evidence, because we still have too few women running for president.''
Does Lawless think sexism played a role in either Clinton's defeat or Warren's failure? Her conclusion is that we simply don't know. In 2016, she pointed out, the female candidate was Hillary Clinton, who had unique baggage after decades in the public eye. ''It was hard to tell if it was sexism or Clintonism,'' Lawless told me. And this year? ''Although some very qualified female contenders did not make it to the end of the race,'' Lawless said, ''neither did some very qualified men.''
None of which is to say that sexism is extinct. In a June 2019 Ipsos poll, about 12 percent of Democrats and independents disagreed strongly or somewhat with the statement ''I am comfortable with a female president.'' But far more'--40 percent'--felt that it was important for the Democratic Party to nominate a woman.
Lawless does believe that gender currently puts up one distinct hurdle for women: the widespread belief that America is not willing to elect a female president. Because of this assumption, some voters eager to get Trump out of office might see a male candidate as a safer choice. Other commentators have raised the same issue in recent months. ''While most Americans claim they are ready for a woman president, far fewer see other people as quite so open to the possibility,'' the New York Times columnist Michelle Cottle wrote in January, pointing to several polls in which this pattern emerged. Warren supporters have deplored the media's flogging of the ''electability'' issue as a ''self-fulfilling prophecy.'' But no one seems to be asking whether the relentless focus on the misogyny allegedly thwarting female candidates'--and, specifically, Clinton in 2016'--played into this self-fulfilling prophecy as well.
A June 2019 poll found that 41 percent of Democrats (and 25 percent of all women) thought that ''gender and sexism'' played a ''major role'' in Clinton's loss to Trump. This is certainly the view embraced by much feminist and progressive punditry: On November 9, 2016, well-known publications such as Slate, BuzzFeed, and Splinter all ran headlines asserting, based on Clinton's loss, that ''America hates women.''
Viewed differently, though, Clinton's campaign was groundbreaking. She won her party's nomination in a tough contest and got 3 million more votes than Trump in the general election. Her ultimate loss, one could argue, had far less to do with misogyny than with the peculiarities of the Electoral College. That Clinton lost to a man widely regarded as an unqualified buffoon was understandably galling to her supporters. But anyone tempted to see Trump's ability to beat a far more competent and more fit female opponent as prima facie evidence of sexism should remember that first, he won the nomination by beating 16 other candidates'--15 of whom were men, and nearly all of whom had more traditional political credentials than he did. It is also worth noting that when two NYU professors produced a half-hour play that presented the Clinton-Trump debates with the candidates' genders flipped, many spectators and project members were discomfited by how much they liked the female Trump and disliked the male Clinton.
Of course turning a blind eye to sexism where it exists and trying to wish it away by positive thinking is a bad idea. Yet not every criticism of a female politician's campaign is sexist'--even if it's mean-spirited and unfair. A candidate can be called condescending, inauthentic, or deceptive (fairly or not) for reasons other than misogyny. A politician's appearance, personality, or voice can be widely disliked for reasons other than misogyny; in 2015 and 2016, Ted Cruz was often attacked in highly personal terms. When every unflattering remark about Clinton or Warren is attributed to sexism, it antagonizes some people and demoralizes others.
It also promotes more skepticism about women candidates' chances than is warranted either from Clinton's near-victory in 2016 or Warren's showing this year. Perhaps, when it comes to sexism in politics, we should paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt's dictum about economic depression: The worst thing we have to fear is fear itself.
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Cathy Young is a contributor to
Reason and an associate editor at Arc Digital.
Court Rules That Google Can Legally Manipulate Searches to Influence Political Results - Big League Politics
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 09:33
A court has ruled that Google has the right to legally manipulate searches in order to cause electoral interference and influence political results, rebuking a legal challenge from Democrat Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.
Gabbard sued the tech giant after Google bottled up her campaign as it was rising following a strong performance in a presidential debate. She alleged that they denied her a crucial advertisement buy that damaged her campaign's chances, and she also pointed out in her lawsuit that Google has manipulated their search results to help dictate political outcomes in the past.
''Since at least June 2019, Google has used its control over online political speech to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate millions of Americans want to hear from. With this lawsuit, Tulsi seeks to stop Google from further intermeddling in the 2020 United States Presidential Election,'' her lawsuit stated.
Trending: Black Mass Shooter Murders Five in Mass Killing, Media Blames Racism for His Terror Rampage
''Google plays favorites, with no warning, no transparency, and no accountability. Google's arbitrary and capricious treatment of Gabbard's campaign should raise concerns for policymakers everywhere about the company's ability to use its dominance to impact political discourse,'' it added.
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Google made the excuse that their censorship of Gabbard's campaign was just their automated systems protecting their customers from potential fraud.
''We have automated systems that flag unusual activity on all advertiser accounts'--including large spending changes'--in order to prevent fraud and protect our customers,'' a Google spokesperson said in an email to Ars Technica.
''In this case, our system triggered a suspension and the account was reinstated shortly thereafter. We are proud to offer ad products that help campaigns connect directly with voters, and we do so without bias toward any party or political ideology,'' they added.
Judge Stephen Victor Wilson, who was appointed to the bench by former President Ronald Reagan, threw her lawsuit out in an edict he issued last week, essentially proclaiming that Google has carte blanche to manipulate political outcomes and election results, and there isn't anything the government can do stop them.
''Google does not hold primaries, it does not select candidates, and it does not prevent anyone from running for office or voting in elections,'' Wilson wrote. ''To the extent Google regulates anything, it regulates its own private speech and platform.''
''Google's self-regulation, even of topics that may be of public concern, does not implicate the First Amendment,'' he added.
Of course, Google is far from a private entity. They, along with other monolithic tech firms, rely on special government protections from liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to protect their monopoly over the free marketplace. This federal judge is happy to allow Google to benefit from government favor while manipulating elections and waging war against free speech.
Ars Technica notes that the federal courts have consistently ruled in favor of Google's right to censor in recent months:
Last month, a federal appeals court in California rejected a similar lawsuit from conservative pundit Dennis Prager. Alt-right social media platform Gab unsuccessfully sued Google in 2017. Last year a federal court rejected a lawsuit against Google by conservative legal group Freedom Watch.
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BREAKING President Xi Jinping of China Has Made His First Visit to Wuhan
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 04:58
 President Xi Jinping Chinese President Xi Jinping Tuesday morning visited the city of Wuhan for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak erupted there.The New York Times notes:His trip is sure to be seen as a sign that China’s leaders believe that a series of draconian restrictions, including the lockdown of hundreds of millions of people starting in late January, have brought the outbreak under control.According to official data, coronavirus infections have recently receded in China, falling to a few dozen new cases every day, nearly all of them in Wuhan, the provincial capital.In the country of 1.3 billion, there have been  3,136 deaths recorded as a result of the virus.-RW (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
'This Is Masochism': Russia Wages An Oil War Against Saudi Arabia, US Amid Coronavirus Concerns
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 04:56
From The Daily Caller
Chris White Tech Reporter
March 09, 2020 11:07 AM ET
Oil prices dropped Monday as Saudi Arabia and Russia haggle over whether to reduce crude production amid fears that coronavirus will hamper air travel and potentially wreck the global economy.
Prices fell into the $30s as the Saudis push for a cut in output to prop up prices, while Russia went the other way, and decided to infuse the market with hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil, according to The Washington Post. Moscow is worried that the U.S. will use shale oil to take advantage if Saudi Arabia ease off production.
Basement-low oil prices could substantially impact oil companies and the global markets, which are already being hurt by fears related to coronavirus. Brent crude dropped to $35 per barrel; and the price of West Texas Intermediate crude fell to $32 from $41 per barrel, a four-year low.
''From the point of view of Russian interests, this deal [to cut production] is simply meaningless,'' Mikhail Leontiev, a spokesman for the Russian oil giant Rosneft, told a Russian media outlet Sunday night.
He said the U.S. would be sure to step up shale production if production is cut.(RELATED: REPORT: Chinese Censors Jumped In To Suppress Online Messages Warning About Coronavirus Spread)
''We, yielding our own markets, remove cheap Arab and Russian oil from them to clear a place for expensive American shale. And to ensure the efficiency of its production. Our volumes are simply replaced by the volumes of our competitors. This is masochism,'' Leontiev added.
President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Rosneft in February for transporting Venezuelan oil. The president says Russia is propping up the Maduro regime in shipping oil to the socialist country.
Some analysts said the problem could metastasize, dropping oil prices still further.
'"$20 oil in 2020 is coming,'' Ali Khedery, a former U.S. official in Iraq, wrote Saturday on Twitter. ''Huge geopolitical implications. Timely stimulus for net consumers. Catastrophic for failed/failing petro-kleptocracies Iraq, Iran, etc. '-- may prove existential 1-2 punch when paired with COVID19.''
Others believe a market overreaction to the virus spread could trigger an actual emergency.
Xi Jinping begins visit to China's Wuhan '-- media
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 04:48
BEIJING, March 10. /TASS/. Chinese President Xi Jinping has begun his visit to Wuhan, China Central Television informed on Tuesday.
According to the channel, at 10:00 local time (05:00 Moscow time), Xi Jinping arrived in Wuhan by plane. He will become acquainted with the measures taken to combat the novel coronavirus, speaking to doctors, social workers, members of the Chinese military, police officers, volunteers, patients and residents of Wuhan.
In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. According to Chinese authorities, about 80,700 people have been infected with the virus in the country. The death toll has exceeded 3,100, while about 59,900 patients have recovered. WHO declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency and named the virus COVID-19. Cases of coronavirus have been reported in over 100 countries, including Russia. The largest outbreaks of COVID-19 outside of China have been detected in South Korea, Iran and Italy. According to WHO, the total amount of people infected has surpassed 110,000 globally, while over 3,800 people have died.
Italy endorses China's Belt and Road plan in first for a G7 nation | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 04:26
Sat Mar 23, 2019 / 11:20 PM EDT
ROME ROME (Reuters) - Italy endorsed China's ambitious "Belt and Road" infrastructure plan on Saturday, becoming the first major Western power to back the initiative to help revive the struggling Italian economy.
Saturday's signing ceremony was the highlight of a three-day trip to Italy by Chinese President Xi Jinping, with the two nations boosting their ties at a time when the United States is locked in a trade war with China.
The rapprochement has angered Washington and alarmed some European Union allies, who fear it could see Beijing gain access to sensitive technologies and critical transport hubs.
Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio played down such concerns, telling reporters that although Rome remained fully committed to its Western partners, it had to put Italy first when it came to commercial ties.
"This is a very important day for us, a day when Made-in-Italy has won, Italy has won and Italian companies have won," said Di Maio, who signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of the Italian government in a Renaissance villa.
Taking advantage of Xi's visit, Italian firms inked deals with Chinese counterparts worth an initial 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion). Di Maio said these contracts had a potential, future value of 20 billion euros.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) lies at the heart of China's foreign policy strategy and was incorporated into the ruling Communist Party constitution in 2017, reflecting Xi's desire for his country to take a global leadership role.
The United States worries that it is designed to strengthen China's military influence and could be used to spread technologies capable of spying on Western interests.
Italy's populist government, anxious to lift the economy out of its third recession in a decade, dismissed calls from Washington to shun the BRI and gave Xi the sort of red-carpet welcome normally reserved for its closest allies.
Some EU leaders also cautioned Italy this week against rushing into the arms of China, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying on Friday that relations with Beijing must not be based primarily on trade.
There was not even universal backing for the BRI agreement within Italy's ruling coalition, with Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the far-right League, warning against the risk of China "colonializing" Italian markets.
Salvini did not meet Xi and declined to attend a state dinner held in honor of the visiting leader on Friday.
Di Maio, who leads the 5-Star Movement, says Italy is merely playing catch up, pointing to the fact that it exports significantly less to China than either Germany or France.
Italy registered a trade deficit with China of 17.6 billion euros last year and Di Maio said the aim was to eliminate the deficit as soon as possible.
After talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Di Maio in the morning, Xi flew to the Sicilian city Palermo for a private visit on Saturday afternoon.
He is due to head to Monte Carlo on Sunday before finishing his brief tour of Europe in France, where he is due to hold talks with Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
(Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Alexander Smith and Helen Popper)
Virus Outbreaks are Israeli Bio-Terrorism '' Veterans Today | Military Foreign Affairs Policy Journal for Clandestine Services
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 04:10
** FILE ** With the U.S. Capitol in the background, members of an U.S. Marine Corps' Chemical-Biological Incident Response Force demonstrate anthrax clean-up techniques during a news conference in Washington in this Oct. 30, 2001 file photo. More than five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the government cannot show how the $5 billion given to public health departments has better prepared the country for a bio terrorism attack or flu pandemic. (AP Photo/Kenneth Lambert, File)by Ian Greenhalgh
We have been intensively studying the virus outbreaks ever since the first cases appeared in Wuhan. However, it is only now that we have worked out what is going on and who is behind it.
Sometimes clues come from the most unexpected sources, a couple of days ago we got one such clue from a notorious, disgraced Israeli disinfo shill who wrote about the 'nice people' at the Gatestone Institute and how they had published a story about the virus having escaped from a Chinese biolab in Wuhan.
The mere mention of the Gatestone Institute immediately set off my bullshit detector and I decided to look into the matter. Long time VT readers will be familiar with the Gatestone Institute and it's notorious head, Nina Rosenwald the arch Zionist pro-Israel former board member of AIPAC and JINSA, two organisations at the heart of the Israeli lobby in the US that are deeply complicit in Israeli's nefarious meddling in US politics. These are not 'nice people', they are anything but, these are the traitorous scum of the earth that have actively assisted the rape and murder of the USA by the Zionist criminals.
The offending article was penned by an Italian called Giulio Meotti and can be found here:
Coronavirus: China's War on the Truth by Giulio Meotti, March 7, 2020
The article is a disgusting piece of anti-Chinese black propaganda, it's main purpose is to promote the notion that the Chinese are thoroughly bad, untrustworthy people and are themselves responsible for the virus outbreak as it escaped from a Wuhan research laboratory.
I'll cut to the chase '' this article is utter bullcrap and Giulio Meotti is an Israeli disinfo operative.
So, why do we have a bunch of notorious Israeli stooges promoting a fraudulent narrative about the origins of the virus?
The answer is obvious they are covering for the fact that the virus outbreak is the work of the Israelis, an act of bioterrorism on a grand scale.
I have already explained why China is being attacked in my intro to Gordon's article published yesterday, which is essential reading for an understanding of the current situation:
Trump's Engineered Crash: Massive Pump and Dump Over Deep State Bio-Engineered Pandemic Has Killed AmericaHere is an extract:
''Of course, the hidden hands that control virtually the entire globe and it's economy were not prepared to allow the Chinese to become the dominant economic, industrial and military power, so they decided to wage war on China; an undeclared war that is unlike any that preceded it as it is not being fought on battlefields by militaries nor in the skies by aircraft and missiles.
A quick rundown of some of the offensive actions taken against China leaves one in little doubt that a concerted campaign is been waged against the Asian powerhouse:
The CIA-sponsored uprising in Xianjing province by the Muslim Uighurs, this has cost the Chinese huge sums of money and the expenditure of vast efforts to put down and even today is still being dealt with.The decimation of China's pig farms by swine fluThe outbreaks of bird flu that caused such panic and did serious damage to the Asian economies.Trump's trade war and the US sanctions on China.The demonisation of 5G technology, in particular that of the market leader with the best technology '' HuaweiThe illegal arrest of Huawei's CFO in CanadaThe attack on the port of Tianjin with a nuclear weaponThe US-sponsored protests in Hong KongThe provocative encroachments into the South China Sea & Straits of Taiwan by US Navy flotillas.That's just a short list off the top of my head, there are many more that could be added to the list. but the picture is clear '' China has been under sustained attack for the last few years.''
That covers China, but what about Italy? That country has been second hardest hit and the scale of the outbreak there dwarves every other country, clearly Italy has been singled out for special punishment above and beyond everyone apart from the Chinese.
The answer to why Italy is under attack is not hard to discover, just read the opening paragraphs of this article by the European Council on Foreign Relations:
''Ahead of Xi Jinping's visit to Italy, China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has joined the long series of issues that divide Italy's ruling parties
One only has to glance at the Italian media to know that, across the political spectrum, Italy's public debate is dominated by discussions of whether the Chinese government is attempting to buy the country. Following Rome's official endorsement of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) earlier this month, most prominent Italian decision-makers and political commentators seem to have put aside urgent challenges on the European agenda to focus on this unexpected shift to the east. Even issues as divisive as migration and the powers of the European Union '' pillars of the ruling Five Star Movement's and League's political identity '' now seem somewhat outdated.
The debate pits those who prioritise strengthened economic relations with China against those who fear that the initiative will turn Italy into the ''next Africa or Greece''. In many ways, the recent increase in Italian enthusiasm for closer economic relations with China began in 2014, when Matteo Renzi, then prime minister, conducted a high-profile tour of the country. Renzi's successor, Paolo Gentiloni, continued the effort to court Beijing, as has the current Italian government.
China and Italy are currently negotiating a memorandum that includes 50 economic, cultural, and infrastructural agreements, most of which concern Italian state-owned and private companies, including national champions. The memorandum '' which, unlike those Beijing has with 13 other European states, is not legally binding '' will be signed during President Xi Jinping's 21-24 March trip to Italy (the first such visit by a Chinese leader since Hu Jintao attended the G8 summit in L'Aquila in 2009). Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, a former lawyer, has repeatedly emphasised that the memorandum will include all necessary references to the European and multilateral values Italy has asked China to respect. He aims to reassure Rome's European and other partners '' primarily Washington '' that Italy remains committed to the EU and the transatlantic relationship.''
So there you have it in a nutshell '' Italy has been forging strong ties with China, especially economic ones. As the ECFR article so succinctly puts it:
Rome now seems stuck between Beijing and Washington '' between economic opportunities and security guarantees
Italy has broken away from the herd and dared to forge ahead with trade & economic policies that are drawing it into China's orbit, this is simply not acceptable to the international Zionist criminals, they want China to be isolated, bereft of allies and therefore vulnerable.
Italy's 'reward' for daring to ally itself with China is to become a victim of Israeli bio-terrorism and it will be hit very hard, just to make sure that every other nation is scared off from forging deals with China or joining it's Belt & Road Initiative.
Given that Italy has an elderly population and it's public services have been underfunded for many years, the potential for the outbreak turning into a truly horrendous situation is strong. Italian authorities are not blind to this fact and are taking very strong measures, the country is in virtual lockdown, travel is banned, those breaking the ban risk being imprisoned, the police & the army are being held on stand by to enforce the quarantine lockdown.
Expect things to get much worse in Italy, for they are being made an example of and the punishment is going to be severe in order to thoroughly scare and intimidate any and all world leaders.
The message is clear '' ally with China and you face the same fate as Italy.
Ian Greenhalgh is a photographer and historian with a particular interest in military history and the real causes of conflicts.
His studies in history and background in the media industry have given him a keen insight into the use of mass media as a creator of conflict in the modern world.
His favored areas of study include state-sponsored terrorism, media manufactured reality and the role of intelligence services in manipulation of populations and the perception of events.
DISCLOSURES: All content herein is owned by author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.
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Democrats Considering Legislative Response to Coronavirus '' Expanded ''Assistance'' Spending'...
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 03:46
Never let a crisis go to waste'... And right on cue the Democrats in Washington DC see an opportunity to use the Coronavirus as a tool to spend and expand dependency initiatives.
One of President Trump's biggest and non-discussed success stories has been his economic policy initiatives allowing people to be financially secure, independent and non-reliant on government hand-outs. However, the financial health and success of Americans is adverse to the political interests of Democrats who structure all of their policy objectives upon creating a dependent citizenry.
Weaponizing Coronavirus now becomes a tool for House Democrats to push-back against economic freedom; diminish the last several years of independence; and return to the era where more people become dependent on government.
It is not a question of ''if legislation will happen'', it is simply a matter of ''what'' legislation will look like. What elements will the Democrats attempt to exploit most? The answer is very predictable when looking at their preferred approach.
Looking at the proclaimed and political preference from Adam Schiff things become clear.
It would appear Democrats plan to create a bailout where people are paid not to work. ''Paid sick leave'' where the federal government takes over the 'paying'. This will work well for those who consistently manipulate employment systems to avoid work and take advantage of federal payments to continue their avoidance.
''Enhanced unemployment insurance'' is another way to pay people not to work. Extending unemployment benefits into infinity was a key part of Obama's failed trillion dollar stimulus bill. It also allows Democrats to pay their activists to engage in GOTV efforts, instead of employment, while being paid.
''Low interest loans'' to cronies and politically connected business interests allows Democrats to funnel taxpayer funds to their political allies.
''Expanded food assistance'' keeps the dependency model working under the false premise of 'helping' lower income workers. What food assistance payments actually do is transfer taxpayer funds to Big Agriculture, and Wall Street multinationals, that can then raise prices and gain additional profits. Middle-class workers don't qualify, but end up paying via taxes and higher prices.
''Free accessible testing'' '' As we have seen from past 'free' programs, nothing is actually free. A testing program sets up Big Pharma and Big Insurance to benefit most via expanded reimbursement rates. ''Affordable treatment'' does exactly the same.
If you want to find out who would benefit most, simply follow the lobbyist spending:
(Link to 2019 Lobbyist Spending)
Outside groups, often called ''special interest groups'', are entities that represent their interests in legislative constructs. These groups are often representing foreign governments, Wall Street multinational corporations, banks, financial groups or businesses; or smaller groups of people with a similar connection who come together and form a larger group under an umbrella of interest specific to their affiliation.
Sometimes the groups are social interest groups; activists, climate groups, environmental interests etc. The social interest groups are usually non-profit constructs who depend on the expenditures of government to sustain their cause or need.
The for-profit groups (mostly business) have a purpose in Washington DC to shape policy, legislation and laws favorable to their interests. They have fully staffed offices just like any business would '' only their 'business' is getting legislation for their unique interests.
These groups are filled with highly-paid lawyers who represent the interests of the entity and actually write laws and legislation briefs.
In the modern era this is actually the origination of the laws that we eventually see passed by congress. Within the walls of these buildings within Washington DC is where the 'sausage' is actually made.
Again, no elected official is usually part of this law origination process.
Almost all legislation created is not 'high profile', they are obscure changes to current laws, regulations or policies that no-one pays attention to. The passage of the general bills within legislation is not covered in media. Ninety-nine percent of legislative activity happens without anyone outside the system even paying any attention to it.
Once the corporation or representative organizational entity has written the law they want to see passed '' they hand it off to the lobbyists.
The lobbyists are people who have deep contacts within the political bodies of the legislative branch, usually former House/Senate staff or former House/Senate politicians themselves.
The lobbyist takes the written brief, the legislative construct, and it's their job to go to congress and sell it.
''Selling it'' means finding politicians who will accept the brief, sponsor their bill and eventually get it to a vote and passage. The lobbyist does this by visiting the politician in their office, or, most currently familiar, by inviting the politician to an event they are hosting. The event is called a junket when it involves travel.
Often the lobbying ''event'' might be a weekend trip to a ski resort, or a ''conference'' that takes place at a resort. The actual sales pitch for the bill is usually not too long and the majority of the time is just like a mini vacation etc.
The size of the indulgence within the event, the amount of money the lobbyist is spending, is customarily related to the scale of benefit within the bill the sponsoring business entity is pushing. If the sponsoring business or interest group can gain a lot of financial benefit from the legislation they spend a lot on the indulgences.
Recap: Corporations (special interest group) write the legislation. Lobbyists take the law and go find politician(s) to support it. Politicians get support from their peers using tenure and status etc. Eventually, if things go according to norm, the legislation gets a vote.
Within every step of the process there are expense account lunches, dinners, trips, venue tickets and a host of other customary financial way-points to generate/leverage a successful outcome. The amount of money spent is proportional to the benefit derived from the outcome.
The important part to remember is that the origination of the entire process is EXTERNAL to congress.
Congress does not write laws or legislation, special interest groups do. Lobbyists are paid, some very well paid, to get politicians to go along with the need of the legislative group.
When you are voting for a Congressional Rep or a U.S. Senator you are not voting for a person who will write laws. Your rep only votes on legislation to approve or disapprove of constructs that are written by outside groups and sold to them through lobbyists who work for those outside groups.
While all of this is happening the same outside groups who write the laws are providing money for the campaigns of the politicians they need to pass them. This construct sets up the quid-pro-quo of influence, although much of it is fraught with plausible deniability.
This is the way legislation is created.
If your frame of reference is not established in this basic understanding you can often fall into the trap of viewing a politician, or political vote, through a false prism. The modern origin of all legislative constructs is not within congress.
''we'll have to pass the bill to, well, find out what is in the bill'' etc. ~ Nancy Pelosi 2009
''We rely upon the stupidity of the American voter'' ~ Johnathan Gruber 2011, 2012.
Once you understand this process you can understand how politicians get rich.
When a House or Senate member becomes educated on the intent of the legislation, they have attended the sales pitch; and when they find out the likelihood of support for that legislation; they can then position their own (or their families) financial interests to benefit from the consequence of passage. It is a process similar to insider trading on Wall Street, except the trading is based on knowing who will benefit from a legislative passage.
The legislative construct passes from K-Street into the halls of congress through congressional committees. The law originates from the committee to the full House or Senate. Committee seats which vote on these bills are therefore more valuable to the lobbyists. Chairs of these committees are exponentially more valuable.
When we understand the business of DC, we understand the difference between legislation with a traditional purpose and modern legislation with a financial and political agenda.
Inside a future Biden administration: His possible picks for VP and Cabinet - Axios
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:36
This is a new "Axios on HBO" column on the reality behind the curtain of the powerful, by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen.
Joe Biden confidants are privately discussing potential leaders and Cabinet members for his White House, including the need to name a woman or African American '-- perhaps both '-- as vice president, top sources tell "Axios on HBO."
Why it matters: Biden advisers describe a Return to Normal plan '-- a reversal of President Trump's unorthodox, improvisational style. Biden wants known, trusted people around him '-- many from the Obama years.
Several high-profile possibilities:
John Kerry would love to take a new Cabinet position devoted to climate change, or might even accept a curtain call to return as secretary of state.Susan Rice, formerly President Obama's national security adviser, is another option for State.Mike Bloomberg, who swiftly endorsed Biden after the former mayor's campaign collapsed, would be a top possibility to head the World Bank. Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general under Obama who stood up to Trump and was fired, would be a leading contender for attorney general.Sen. Elizabeth Warren as Treasury secretary could help unite the party.Jamie Dimon '-- chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, and mentioned over the years as a potential presidential candidate '-- would also be considered for Treasury.Anne Finucane, vice chairman of Bank of America, is another possibility for Treasury.Biden advisers expect Pete Buttigieg to get a prominent slot after his swift endorsement of Biden '-- perhaps as ambassador to the UN, or as U.S. trade representative.
Both would help credential Buttigieg for a future national campaign.Behind the curtain: Campaign officials say the name game isn't where Biden's head is '-- he knows he has major primary and general-election fights ahead.
Officials point out they don't yet have a transition '-- and haven't run a process that would surface new talent, like Dr. Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize physicist who was Obama's first secretary of energy.But it's a sign of the sudden optimism around his candidacy that some in his circle of trust are starting to think down the road, starting with the V.P. pick:
Some Biden advisers hope he could overcome hard feelings from the Obama years and pick Warren for V.P. to excite party progressives. Also high on the list of potential Biden picks for #2 are several African Americans: Sen. Kamala Harris (first on many lists) and Sen. Cory Booker, both of whom ended their nomination fights before the voting began ... former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who ended his presidential campaign after New Hampshire ... and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who electrifies crowds. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is in the mix, too. Others who could bring diversity and relative youth to the ticket include Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Rep. Val Demings of Florida, who got high marks as a House impeachment manager.
One adviser told us when we asked who the V.P. pick would be: "Whoever Jim Clyburn wants it to be."Indeed, Biden feels Clyburn '-- the South Carolinian who is the highest ranking African American in Congress '-- helped raise him from the dead with his endorsement. Black voters on Super Tuesday sealed Biden's political salvation. Another swath of likely picks are comfort food '-- longtime loyalists who are integral to the campaign:
Tom Donilon, national security adviser under Obama, would be considered for CIA director, director of national intelligence, or secretary of state.Tony Blinken, deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser under Obama, could go to State or become national security adviser.The chief of staff would likely be Ron Klain, who held that job for him when he was veep.Steve Ricchetti could be counselor, along with Mike Donilon, Biden's longtime political guru.Anita Dunn, who helped turn around the campaign and bring in more money, also might go inside. Ditto Ambassador Cathy Russell, a top State Department official for Obama who earlier was chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden.Ted Kaufman, former senator from Delaware, has been in Biden's inner circle forever. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware also might get a big job.The sources see Harris as a promising choice for attorney general if she's not on the ticket.
Mich¨le Flournoy, an Obama undersecretary of defense, would be the favorite to run Biden's Pentagon. Morgan Stanley exec Tom Nides could get secretary of commerce, trade rep or some other top post. The bottom line: Biden, a throw-back institutionalist, relishes an emphasis on governing, norms and restoring alliances.
That includes respect for experts, and for the art and science of governing.This evolving plan is all in Biden's comfort zone '-- all meant to send a public signal of stability.
Makes Sense '' DNC Control Agents Created Biden Coalition With Promises of Administration Positions'... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:33
An interesting Axios article starts to explain how Joe Biden was able to catapult from a stammering, incoherent message candidate into the position of unified front-runner. Amid earlier reporting on Team Obama dispatching phone calls ahead of the Super Tuesday vote, things do certainly make sense.
While the Axios report is a general citation of people ''in and around the Biden camp'', an extension of Team Obama, the explanation of promising key positions to influence people to get in line does make sense.
According to the inside talk, Elizabeth Warren would be handed Treasury Secretary; Pete Buttigieg a U.N. ambassador position; Kamala Harris as a likely Attorney General (or deputy); Mike Bloomberg to head the World Bank; etc.
Additionally the Vice-Presidential nominee, likely a black female, would be selected by South Carolina black-caucus leader Jim Clyburn who was the critical component of Biden's resurgence.
Indeed this approach of putting the gang back together, with former President Barack Obama taking control over The Club network and playing the role of puppeteer, does make sense as to how everyone was so quickly brought to heel. It would also explain who would ultimately be running a Biden administration, and that would not be Joe Biden.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Had Been Laying Low. That's Over. - The New York Times
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 19:53
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seemed to be keeping a low profile. Then he detained senior members of the royal family and started an oil price war.
For more than a year, Prince Mohammed bin Salman seemed to be living down his reputation for dangerous aggression. Credit... Pool photo by Mandel Ngan March 9, 2020, 7:45 p.m. ET First he ordered the detention of at least four senior members of his own royal family. Two days later he plunged Saudi Arabia into a price war with Russia that sent energy and stock markets around the world into free fall.
For a while, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia had appeared to be living down his reputation for dangerous aggression.
Perhaps chastened by the blowback over his connection with the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the 34-year-old crown prince had kept a low profile for more than a year.
Now his new power plays are reviving debates in Western capitals about whether he is too rash to trust as a partner. His sudden, steep cut to the price of oil has rocked a global economy already at risk of falling into recession, threatened to burn through Saudi Arabia's cash reserves and undermined his grandiose promises of new investments to lessen the kingdom's dependence on oil.
''It is mutually assured destruction for any oil exporting economy, certainly including Saudi Arabia and Russia and probably the United States as well,'' said Greg Brew, a scholar of the region and a fellow at Southern Methodist University.
''But this is typical MBS, right?'' he added, referring to the crown prince by his initials. ''He is a risk taker, and he is prone to impulsive decisions.''
The detention of the senior royals, which began to leak out on Friday, has not been acknowledged or explained by the Saudi officials.
Two of the detained princes '-- Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of the crown prince's aging father, King Salman, and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the former crown prince and interior minister '-- had once been seen as possible rivals for power. Their arrests stirred anxious speculation among cowed members of the royal family that Crown Prince Mohammed might be sidelining opponents in preparation for taking the throne from his father, who is 84 and has sometimes appeared forgetful or disoriented.
People close to the royal court, though, insisted the crown prince had merely lashed out at his uncle and cousins for speaking critically about him. He wanted to teach the rest of the family a lesson.
''It was quiet for a while and people were wondering if MBS had mellowed,'' Steffen Hertog, a scholar at the London School of Economics, said. ''But clearly his character is pretty persistent.''
Prince Mohammed slashed the oil price to punish Russia, which he faulted for failing to cooperate in cutting production and propping up prices. The slowdown caused by the coronavirus was already reducing demand for oil.
''The Russians called their bluff, and now the Saudis are trying to demonstrate to the Russians what the cost is of a lack of cooperation,'' Professor Hertog said. But for Saudi Arabia, ''it is a risky game of chicken.''
Saudi Arabia has much more to lose than Russia. Russia has more diverse sources of revenue and it has built up its reserves since the last oil price downturn.
Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, remains overwhelmingly dependent on oil. What's more, its cash reserves have remained flat for about four years at around $500 billion, down from a peak of about $740 billion in the summer of 2014.
Analysts say that the kingdom needs a so-called break-even price of about $80 a barrel to meet its budget without either further drawing down those reserves or adopting painful austerity measures. But the price on Monday fell to about $35 a barrel, less than half the break-even price.
A downturn of as much as two years could cut into those reserves severely enough to put pressure on the Saudi exchange rate as well as the plans to diversify the economy, Professor Hertog said.
The crown prince's economic plan for the country centered on a public offering of shares in the Saudi state oil company, Aramco, to raise money to invest in other sectors. But plans for a debut on a major international market were pulled in favor of the more lax Saudi domestic exchange, and over the last two days the oil price cut has sent shares tumbling by 20 percent, shaving $320 billion off the value of the company.
The timing of the price war so soon after the roundup of his royal relatives on Friday has aroused speculation that the crown prince sought to contain potential opponents in anticipation of trouble. Perhaps he wanted to pre-empt any foes before economic pain from the downturn made him politically vulnerable, some suggested.
''The threat to MBS is not coming from his royal rivals,'' argued Kristin Smith Diwan, a scholar at the Gulf States Institute in Washington. ''It is coming from the collapse in oil revenues and what that does to his ambitious economic plans.''
But other analysts, former diplomats and officials with experience in Saudi Arabia, and Saudis close to the royal court said that Prince Mohammed had consolidated power so thoroughly that he had little left to fear.
With a level of ruthlessness unprecedented in modern Saudi history, the crown prince has seized more direct power over the kingdom than any monarch in decades, largely by intimidating into submission his own sprawling ruling family. Even in a severe downturn, the members of the royal family he detained had little hope of challenging him.
He had already put the same royals under tight surveillance, limiting their ability to plot against him, according to people close to the royal court.
A spokesman for the Saudi government did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
The most senior figure detained, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, more than 70 years old, had once been recorded in London making comments distancing himself from the crown prince's policies but had since appeared submissive, at least in public.
The other prominent royal detained, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, had already been under house arrest since 2017, when he was removed from his posts as crown prince and interior minister by the current crown prince.
Previous Saudi rulers might have provided some advance warning to Washington and London before such high profile detentions, former diplomats said. Crown Prince Mohammed had met in Riyadh last week with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab of Britain and last month with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Yet the crown prince gave no indication that the arrests were imminent, according to diplomats and other officials with knowledge of the matter.
Western officials worry about the ''reputational risk'' of associating with such an unpredictable leader, said Emile Hokayem, a scholar at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. But so far Prince Mohammed has faced few adverse consequences.
He has led a five-year military intervention in Yemen that has produced a humanitarian catastrophe. He rounded up hundreds of his royal relatives and other wealthy Saudis in a Ritz Carlton hotel in 2017 to squeeze them for repayment of what he claimed was self enrichment. He even temporarily kidnapped the prime minister of Lebanon and forced him to announce a resignation (which the prime minister later retracted).
American intelligence agencies concluded that in 2018 Prince Mohammed ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist who lived in Virginia.
Since then, some analysts have seen signs of maturation, in particular his pulling back from a potential armed clash with his nemesis, Iran, last year. At a meeting last summer in Japan of the leaders of the world's 20 largest economies, Prince Mohammed was welcomed as a fellow statesman and tapped to host the group's next summit this fall in Riyadh.
President Trump called him ''a friend of mine.''
''You have done a spectacular job,'' the president told him.
And when the crown prince shook world markets on Monday, Mr. Trump emphasized the positive.
''Good for the consumer, gasoline prices coming down!'' he said in a Twitter posting.
Andrew Miller, a researcher for the Project on Middle East Democracy and a former State Department official, said the detentions and price war were ''just MBS.''
''Contrary to what many had said previously, he has not learned any lessons and he has not matured,'' Mr. Miller said. ''He has drawn the opposite lessons, that he is above the law, because Saudi Arabia is so important to its Western allies that he will always be welcomed back into the fold.''
Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.
2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Situation Summary | CDC
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 17:54
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance.
Updated March 7, 2020
BackgroundCDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in almost 90 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named ''SARS-CoV-2'' and the disease it causes has been named ''coronavirus disease 2019'' (abbreviated ''COVID-19'').
On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a ''public health emergency of international concern external icon '' (PHEIC). On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation's healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.
Source and Spread of the VirusCoronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.
Early on, many of the patients at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread was subsequently reported outside Hubei and in countries outside China, including in the United States. Some international destinations now have apparent community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19, as do some parts of the United States. Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed. Learn what is known about the spread of this newly emerged coronaviruses.
Illness SeverityThe complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report external icon out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions '-- like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example '-- seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
Learn more about the symptoms associated with COVID-19.
There are ongoing investigations to learn more. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
Risk AssessmentOutbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk to the general public from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people; the severity of resulting illness; and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccines or medications that can treat the illness). That this disease has caused severe illness, including illness resulting in death is concerning, especially since it has also shown sustained person-to-person spread in several places. These factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic. As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer toward meeting the third criteria, worldwide spread of the new virus.
It is important to note that current circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. This is a rapidly evolving situation and CDC's risk assessment will be updated as needed.
Current risk assessment:
For most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. This virus is not currently widespread in the United States.People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.
What May HappenMore cases of COVID-19 are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It's also likely that sustained person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including throughout communities in the United States. It's likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur.
Widespread transmission of COVID-19 would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, and workplaces, may experience more absenteeism. Mass gatherings may be sparsely attended or postponed. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and sectors of the transportation industry may also be affected. Healthcare providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. Nonpharmaceutical interventions would be the most important response strategy.
CDC ResponseGlobal efforts at this time are focused concurrently on containing the spread and mitigating the impact of this virus. The federal government is working closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat. The public health response is multi-layered, with the goal of detecting and minimizing introductions of this virus in the United States. CDC is implementing all of its pandemic preparedness and response plans, working on multiple fronts to meet these goals, including specific measures to prepare communities to respond to local transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. There is an abundance of pandemic guidance developed in anticipation of an influenza pandemic that is being adapted for a potential COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlights of CDC's ResponseCDC established a COVID-19 Incident Management System on January 7, 2020. On January 21, CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center to better provide ongoing support to the COVID-19 response.The U.S. government has taken unprecedented steps with respect to travel in response to the growing public health threat posed by this new coronavirus:On February 2, the U.S. government suspended entry of foreign nationals who have been in China within the past 14 days.U.S. citizens, residents, and their immediate family members who have been in Hubei province and other parts of mainland China are allowed to enter the United States, but they are subject to health monitoring and possible quarantine for up to 14 days.On February 29, the U.S. government announced it was suspending entry of foreign nationals who have been in Iran within the past 14 days.CDC has issued the following travel guidance related to COVID-19.CDC has issued clinical guidance, including:On January 30, CDC published guidance for healthcare professionals on the clinical care of COVID-19 patients.On February 3, CDC posted guidance for assessing the potential risk for various exposures to COVID-19 and managing those people appropriately.On February 27, CDC updated its criteria to guide evaluation of persons under investigation for COVID-19.On February 28, CDC issued a Health Alert Network (HAN): Update and Interim Guidance on Outbreak of COVID-19.CDC has deployed multidisciplinary teams to support state health departments case identification, contact tracing, clinical management, and public communications.CDC has worked with the Department of State, supporting the safe return of Americans who have been stranded as a result of the ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 and related travel restrictions. CDC has worked to assess the health of passengers as they return to the United States and provided continued daily monitoring of people who are quarantined.This is a picture of CDC's laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). CDC is shipping the test kits to laboratories CDC has designated as qualified, including U.S. state and local public health laboratories, Department of Defense (DOD) laboratories and select international laboratories. The test kits are bolstering global laboratory capacity for detecting SARS-CoV-2.
This is a picture of CDC's laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). CDC is shipping the test kits to laboratories CDC has designated as qualified, including U.S. state and local public health laboratories, Department of Defense (DOD) laboratories and select international laboratories. The test kits are bolstering global laboratory capacity for detecting SARS-CoV-2.
An important part of CDC's role during a public health emergency is to develop a test for the pathogen and equip state and local public health labs with testing capacity.After distribution of a CDC rRT-PCR test to diagnose COVID-19 to state and local public health labs started, performance issues were identified related to a problem in the manufacturing of one of the reagents. Laboratories were not able to verify the test performance.CDC worked on two potential resolutions to this problem.CDC developed a new protocol that uses two of the three components of the original CDC test kit to detect the virus that causes COVID-19 after establishing that the third component, which was the problem with the original test, can be excluded from testing without affecting accuracy. CDC is working with FDA to amend the existing Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the test, but in the meantime, FDA granted discretionary authority for the use of the original test kits.Public health laboratories can use the original CDC test kit to test for the virus that causes COVID-19 using the new protocol.Further, newly manufactured kits have been provided to the International Reagent Resource external icon for distribution to state and local public health labs.Combined with other reagents that CDC has procured, there are enough testing kits to test more than 75,000 people.In addition, CDC has two laboratories conducting testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC can test approximately 350 specimens per day.Commercial labs are working to develop their own tests that hopefully will be available soon. This will allow a greater number of tests to happen close to where potential cases are.CDC has grown the COVID-19 virus in cell culture, which is necessary for further studies, including for additional genetic characterization. The cell-grown virus was sent to NIH's BEI Resources Repository external icon for use by the broad scientific community.CDC RecommendsEveryone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:It's currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.Individuals and communities should familiarize themselves with recommendations to protect themselves and their communities from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like coronavirus disease 2019.Older people and people with severe chronic conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.If you are a healthcare provider, be on the look-out for:People who recently traveled from China or another affected area and who have symptoms associated with COVID-19, andPeople who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or patients with pneumonia of unknown cause. (Consult the most recent definition for patients under investigation [PUIs].)If you are a healthcare provider or a public health responder caring for a COVID-19 patient, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure.If you are a resident in a community where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19 and you develop COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms.For people who are ill with COVID-19, but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness.If you have been in China or another affected area or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity . Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.Other Available ResourcesThe following resources are available with information on COVID-19
U.S. Department of State China Travel Advisory external icon World Health Organization, Coronavirus external icon
Barr's DOJ Refuses To Release Notes Of Kushner's Interview With Mueller |
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 16:09
A federal judge recently granted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by CNN and Buzzfeed and ordered the Justice Department to release documents currently in its possession related to the now concluded investigation into Russian election interference in 2016 (Mueller probe)
Among the documents media houses CNN and Buzzfeed are most interested in, are the notes from the various interviews Mueller conducted with witnesses''known in legal circles as ''302 notes''. Needless to say, such notes can be very important in determining whether a particular witness lied to/misled/withheld material information from investigators.
Ever since the federal judge granted CNN and Buzzfeed's FOIA request, Barr's DOJ has largely complied and released several 302 notes. Conspiquously absent from the 302 notes however, are those related to Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner''a prime target of CNN and Buzzfeed's FOIA request.
DOJ failed to produce Mueller Report materials on Jared Kushner, despite a court order to do so & w/no explanation. This is more obstruction of justice by Trump. If the Senate refuses to hold him accountable he can do whatever he wants & hide it from us.
'-- Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) January 19, 2020Equally troubling is the fact that Barr's DOJ is yet to provide the legal justification for its refusal to comply with the federal judge's order on 302 notes related to Jared Kushner. Is there something very bad in Kushner's 302 notes that Barr's DOJ is so intent on keeping away from the public even if that means violating a federal judge's order?
Bottom line folks, it is now quite evident that AG Barr considers his position as one intended primarily to protect/defend President Trump and his family. Where, as here, his Justice Dept refuses to release 302 notes related to Trump's son-in-law Kushner, and giving no legal justification for the refusal, a reasonable inference can be made that AG Barr is hiding from the public Kushner's 302 notes because they contain information he thinks will cast Trump and his family in negative light. Congressional Democrats and the mainstream media must demand that DOJ comply with the federal judge's order and release Kushner's 302 notes.
For those of you very happy with @Emolclause's activism don't shy away from the ''tip jar'' below on your way out.
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Turkey asks NATO for extra assistance on Syria
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 15:05
BRUSSELS, March 9. /TASS/. Turkey has requested additional assistance from NATO to protect its border with Syria and address migration challenges, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
"At today's talks we discussed mainly the situation in Syria. I stressed the importance of immediate additional assistance from NATO and the alliance's member states. Turkey's border with Syria is NATO's southeastern border. The crisis in Syria is a threat to our region and entire Europe both in the sphere of security and in the humanitarian sphere. Not a single European country can afford staying indifferent to the tragedy in Syria," he said.
This statement was made ahead of Erdogan's talks with the European Commission president that are expected to focus on Turkey's role in an attempts to exert migration pressure on Europe.
Erdogan said Turkey has been Europe's and NATO's stronghold against the threat in Syria for nine years and the only NATO country to fight against Islamic State (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia). Moreover, in his words, Turkey has received 3.7 million Syrian refugees.
Germany Proves How Essential Natural Gas Is '' And The U.S. Must Supply
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 14:41
provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA), German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US president Donald Trump meet during the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 24, 2019 in New York City. World leaders from across the globe are gathered at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, amid crises ranging from climate change to possible conflict between Iran and the United States. (Photo by Guido Bergmann/Bundesregierung via Getty Images)
Bundesregierung via Getty Images
No country ever has spent more money forcing the adoption of renewable energy than Germany. Passed in 2010, Germany's Energiewende is an ''energy transition'' based on relentlessly installing as much wind and solar power capacity as possible, with little to no consideration to cost.
The Energiewende demanding the use of renewables could ultimately cost the country as much as $4 trillion by 2050. Already costing hundreds of billions of dollars, wind and solar now generate just ~18% and ~8% of Germany's electricity, respectively, and still account for just a small fraction of total energy needs (Figure).
Yet, the reality is that natural gas is also quickly becoming an even more important source of energy in Germany. Not just as a vital standalone energy source providing 25% of all energy consumed, gas is the backup fuel needed for intermittent wind and solar. As the energy policy advisor to the U.S., Germany, and the other 34 developed, rich OECD nations, the International Energy Agency (IEA) touts gas as the backbone of the electric power system, to have a flexible, reliable grid where gas supports renewables.
Our advisor states the energy facts clearly:
· ''Germany needs more LNG to complement renewables, IEA says.''
In fact, Germany is now looking at building LNG (liquefied natural gas) import facilities to loosen the grip of heavily resourced Russia, which supplies 50-60% of Germany's gas. The ruling CDU, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) have a coalition agreement to build LNG infrastructure.
Germany wants to add three or four terminals to help expand Europe's total LNG import facilities to nearly 35, a ''dash to gas'' that is extremely telling for a continent that has deployed massive funding and policy support to force more wind and solar into the system. IEA's message is simple: LNG is becoming increasingly essential to help stop Vladimir Putin's goal energy hegemony to exploit Germany's energy unrealism that ''only wind and solar'' are required.
Amid energy hemming and hawing, Germany has already been forced to construct the nearly completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline to link even more to politically risky Russia. The U.S. remains confident, however, that its current sanctions on Nord Stream 2 will block the project from being completed.
fuel in Germany, despite unmatched policy and financial support for renewables.
Photo Credit: IEA; JTC
Indeed, Germany offers a number of lessons for the U.S. and the world '' a series of energy warnings that we must heed. Illustrated by Germany's plan to eliminate both coal and nuclear, which effectively is happening here in the U.S., gas only becomes more essential.
Further, massive payouts to force more wind and solar power into the system can only last for so long, and there are physical and cost limitations that not even rich countries can ignore forever. To illustrate, as tax breaks run out, opposition grows, barriers to new power lines persist, and construction approvals slow, there is a major shortage of new wind projects: ''Germans fall out of love with wind power.''
Many though probably see this slowdown in German wind as a positive, financially drained of the levies to pay for renewables subsidies. The ''renewables only'' tunnel vision has helped soar Germany's electricity prices for families to being three to four times more expensive than they are here in the U.S.: ''If Renewables Are So Cheap Why Is Germany's Electricity So Expensive?''
After Denmark, Germany has had the highest electricity prices in the world. In fact, ridiculously high energy prices have sadly created a new term in Germany: energy poverty, ''Renewable Energy Mandates Are Making Poor People Poorer.''
In contrast, global natural gas prices today are the lowest they have been in over 10 years, strengthening the economic argument for switching to gas. The U.S. has been at the forefront of an LNG export boom that continues to make gas more viable for rich and poor countries alike. LNG is the fastest-growing traded commodity in the world because natural gas is the world's go-to fuel.
U.S. LNG must help lower Germany's over-dependence on Russia, especially important now since other traditional suppliers Denmark and the Netherlands face major production problems of their own. The U.S. has been touting its ''Freedom Gas'' for Germany and the rest of Europe.
Starting in 2016 and soaring to third place last year, the U.S. is set to become the world's top LNG exporter within four or five years '' that is how fast our Federal Energy Regulatory Commission wants the industry to grow.
And this makes also makes perfect sense from an environmental perspective. Not just backing up wind and solar, the International Energy Agency specifically credits more gas usage as to why the U.S. has been cutting CO2 emissions faster than any other country '' in ''the history of energy.''
That is crucial enough to repeat: the shale gas revolution and the free market of the U.S. has us slashing emissions faster and much more cheaply than the renewables and regulation obsessed nations like Germany. Indeed, ''U.S. Department of Energy's Winberg: Tech will solve CO2 emissions.'' Even Germany's goal for more hydrogen means more natural gas: production processes center on pulling it from methane '' or, natural gas itself.
But what does Germany's requirement for more natural gas really say about the energy needs of the fast-growing poor countries, and the expectations that we wealthy Westerners should have for them?
After all, Germany is a rich country, has had almost no population growth for many decades, and has low incremental energy needs '' the exact opposite of the 85% of the global population that still lives in undeveloped nations.
Just think about it: despite years of promises to effectively ''get rid of them,'' oil (33%) and gas (25%) still supply almost 60% of Germany's primary energy needs (not all that surprising since wind and solar are strictly sources of electricity, a secondary energy source that accounts for just 20-30% of all energy demand).
If Germany cannot survive on just ''wind and solar'' how are the poor countries supposed to?
Unlike Germany (ditto California, New York, New England states), these still developing nations must put low costs '' and the desperate need for more energy-enabled human development '' at the forefront. It is just too bad that this is apparently so inconvenient for some of us most fortunate.
Here are some other quiet headlines you probably missed:
· ''Europe saved $8 billion on gas bill in 2018 due to LNG, reforms: IEA.''
· ''Rising US LNG supply to make natural gas affordable for India.''
Follow me on
Twitter. I am Principal at JTC Energy Research Associates, LLC. I hold a B.A. in International Relations from Penn State University, with a minor in Statistical Analysis. I got my'... Read More
I am Principal at JTC Energy Research Associates, LLC. I hold a B.A. in International Relations from Penn State University, with a minor in Statistical Analysis. I got my M.S. in Homeland Security from San Diego State University, with a focus on Energy Security, and an MBA from St. Francis University, with a focus on Energy Economics. My research specialization includes North American and international trends in liquid fuels, natural gas, coal, renewables, electricity and GHG emissions '' and their connection to human development. I have over 400 professional publications in a variety of energy-related media, notably Pipeline & Gas Journal, Carbon Capture Journal, Journal of Energy Security, Power, World Oil, Public Utilities Fortnightly, and the Journal of Energy and Development. I have also been a writer and editor for reports commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy, International Energy Agency, and other major energy research organizations. Read Less
Last-second gun-control bills pass Virginia Senate, head to Northam's desk
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 13:13
by Tyler Arnold, The Center Square
| March 09, 2020 12:00 PM
W ith the legislative session winding down, the Virginia General Assembly approved more gun-control initiatives Saturday that were part of Gov. Ralph Northam's 2020 agenda.
After Democrats in the House and the Senate worked out minor differences, the chambers came to an agreement on bills to expand background checks ( Senate Bill 70 and House Bill 2) and limit handgun purchases ( Senate Bill 69 and House Bill 812).
The House adopted the substitute bills earlier this week, and the Senate agreed to them on Saturday.
The background-check legislation will expand background checks to private transfers of weapons, unless the transfer is between immediate family members. The legislation on handgun purchases will prohibit a person from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-day period.
In a statement, Northam praised the General Assembly for passing the bills.
''Every year, we lose more than one thousand Virginians to gun violence,'' Northam said in a statement. ''Today, this year, Virginia has said enough is enough. The emergency of gun violence must end. This legislation will help get us there.''
The General Assembly already has sent Northam legislation to enact red-flag laws, which will allow a judge or magistrate to order a person has his guns confiscated if he is deemed to be a threat to himself or others.
Efforts to enact a ban on the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines had support in the House, but failed in the Senate after it faced opposition from some moderate Democrats.
In response to Northam's gun-control agenda, more than 100 localities declared themselves to be Second Amendment sanctuaries, which stated their intent to defy state gun-control laws they deemed to be unconstitutional.
Thousands Prepare to Depart Cruise Ship Hit by Virus - Truthdig
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 12:50
SAN FRANCISCO '-- Federal and state officials in California prepared to receive thousands of people Monday from a cruise ship that has been idling off the coast of San Francisco with at least 21 people aboard infected with the coronavirus.
Personnel covered head to toe in protective gear woke up passengers on the Grand Princess to check whether they were sick.
Michele Smith, of Paradise, California, said a doctor knocked on her and her husband's cabin before dawn and asked if they had a fever or a cough. The couple who went on the cruise to celebrate their wedding anniversary are healthy and, like the rest of the 2,400 passengers aboard, have been isolating in their cabins since Thursday.
On land, fences were installed at an 11-acre site at the Port of Oakland as authorities readied flights and buses to whisk the passengers aboard the ship to military bases or their home countries for a 14-day quarantine. The more than 3,500 passengers and staff on the ship hail from 54 countries.
''We're making every effort to get them off the ship as safely and quickly as possible,'' said Dr. John Redd of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who urged passengers to remain in their rooms.
As the U.S. death toll from the virus reached at least 21 and the number of cases worldwide soared above 110,000, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the mayor of Oakland sought to reassure the public that none of the Grand Princess passengers would be exposed to the U.S. public before completing the quarantine. The number of infections in the United States climbed above 500 as testing for the virus increased.
The Port of Oakland was chosen for docking because of its proximity to an airport and a military base, Newsom said. U.S. passengers will be transported to military bases in California, Texas and Georgia, where they'll be tested for the COVID-19 virus and quarantined.
About 1,100 crew on the ship, 19 of whom have tested positive for the new virus, will be quarantined and treated aboard the ship, which will dock elsewhere, Newsom said.
''That ship will turn around '-- and they are currently assessing appropriate places to bring that quarantined ship '-- but it will not be here in the San Francisco Bay,'' he said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institutes of Health's infectious diseases chief, said Sunday that widespread closure of a city or region, as Italy has done, is ''possible.'' U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said communities will need to start thinking about canceling large gatherings, closing schools and letting more employees work from home, as many companies have done in the Seattle, Washington, area amid an outbreak at a care home that has killed 17.
On the Grand Princess, the Smiths said they hope their time spent in quarantine on the ship will count toward the 14 days they are expected to isolate themselves. But they said officials have not yet provided an answer.
''We would love to get credit for the three or four days we've spent in our cabin,'' Steven Smith said.
The Department of State was working with the home countries of several hundred passengers to arrange their repatriation, including nearly 240 from Canada.
The ship was held off the coast amid evidence it was the breeding ground for a cluster of at least 20 cases from a previous voyage.
Meanwhile, another cruise ship, the Regal Princess, pulled into a Florida port late Sunday night after being held off the state's coast for hours while awaiting coronavirus test results for two crew members, who did not have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
Another Princess ship, the Diamond Princess, was quarantined for two weeks in Yokohama, Japan, last month because of the virus. Ultimately, about 700 of the 3,700 people aboard became infected in what experts pronounced a public health failure, with the vessel essentially becoming a floating germ factory.
On Sunday, the U.S. State Department urged U.S. citizens against travel on cruise ships as officials said there was ''increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.''
Private companies and some public venues in the U.S. have been taking safety measures in an effort to limit the virus' spread. Several universities have begun online-only courses, including the University of Washington, Stanford University and Columbia University. The largest school district in Northern California, with 64,000 students, canceled classes for a week when it was discovered a family in the district was exposed to COVID-19.
Weber reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Juliet Williams in San Francisco and Robert Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.
Blog Post: Second US plant licensed for 80-year operation
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 12:49
Second US plant licensed for 80-year operationThe US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved Exelon Generation Company's application for an additional 20 years of operation for Peach Bottom units 2 and 3, authorising an operating life of up to 80 years. These are the second subsequent licence renewals granted by the US regulator, following Turkey Point units 3 and 4 which were granted renewals more
Steve Jobs' widow '-- worth $27.5 billion '-- says it's wrong for individuals to accumulate massive amounts of wealth - TheBlaze
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 12:46
Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, said she doesn't intend to pass on her massive amounts of wealth to her children because it would be unfair, and it's not right for individuals to be so rich, according to the New York Times.
Jobs is the 35th-richest person in the world with a net worth of $27.5 billion.
What did she say?"It's not right for individuals to accumulate a massive amount of wealth that's equivalent to millions and millions of other people combined," Jobs told the Times. "There's nothing fair about that. We saw that at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries with the Rockefellers and Carnegies and Mellons and Fords of the world. That kind of accumulation of wealth is dangerous for a society. It shouldn't be this way."
Despite that conviction, she justified her possession of her billions by saying she inherited it from her husband. But, she also won't pass it on to the next generation because neither she nor the late Steve Jobs believed in "legacy building" in that way. From the Times:
And yet Ms. Powell Jobs is hardly apologetic. "I inherited my wealth from my husband, who didn't care about the accumulation of wealth," she said. "I am doing this in honor of his work, and I've dedicated my life to doing the very best I can to distribute it effectively, in ways that lift up individuals and communities in a sustainable way.""I'm not interested in legacy wealth buildings, and my children know that," she added. "Steve wasn't interested in that. If I live long enough, it ends with me."
No giving pledgeBusiness Insider noted that Jobs, unlike other Silicon Valley billionaires, has not signed the Giving Pledge started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, in which one pledges to give a majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
MTV (adam curry) CYBER-SLEAZE mailing list > answers here! - Google Groups
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 12:27
.Sign in -
Adam Curry launches Cyber-Sleaze
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 11:57
Which once-upon-a-time teen idols just shot a video in which they appear au naturel in a vain attempt to resuscitate the toe-tagged corpse they call a career? Which eyelash-batting pop diva is fond of a certain bat-eating metalhead?
To find the answer to these and other music-biz tidbits, kick a PC into overdrive, log onto the Internet, zoom into cyberspace, and stop at '-- home of Cyber-Sleaze, the juicy gossip column published daily by techno-dweeb Adam Curry. That's right, MTV's most popular bouffant-helmeted VJ spends his off-hours riding the information highway. Curry, 29, started (with MTV's blessing but not its sponsorship) last summer as an extension of a computer hobby. ''It has to be in your blood to be a computer nerd,'' he says. ''I was just in denial.''
A full-service computer music magazine, also features pop-chart information, record reviews (including snippets of music), and some nonmusician interviews (with actors like Wes Studi). Curry likens the project to ''a one-stop shopping venue '-- a 7-Eleven for music'' on the highway roadside. And like all good proprietors, he interacts with his community: Much of Cyber-Sleaze's dish comes from its 30,000 hacker readers via electronic mail. When the lead singer of a band that takes part of its name from a piece of fruit emptied his bladder onto a sea of moshers, a kid in the audience immediately E-mailed Curry with the news. Boasts the Liz Smith of the Internet, ''I had it first.''
More from See J. Lo, Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth in first-look photos from their Quibi shows Dwayne Johnson shares training update for 'passion project' Black Adam Jeff Probst weighs in on Adam's big Survivor: Winners at War mistake You can get a Samsung smart TV for up to $2,000 off right now Two queens of fantasy launch epic new series anchored by fierce heroines: Review
MEPs ask: Does coronavirus not apply to Greta? '' POLITICO
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 11:49
Parliament president accused of 'double standards' for allowing climate activist's visit to continue.
Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg | Leon Neal/Getty Images
President David Sassoli's decision to shut the doors of the European Parliament to most visitors except climate activist Greta Thunberg as it tries to limit the spread of the coronavirus has raised objections from MEPs.
Thunberg is scheduled to participate in a meeting of the environment committee on Wednesday, as the EU publishes its new climate law.
But emails seen by POLITICO show many MEPs are questioning why Thunberg is exempt from measures announced Monday night in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Europe, which ban entry to the Parliament for most non-staffers.
''External visitors coming from all around the world are not allowed to enter the building, but Ms Thunberg is. How should we explain this to our visitors and guests?'' Hilde Vautmans, Belgian MEP from the liberal Renew Europe, wrote in an email to Sassoli.
According to the rules announced by Sassoli, Parliament's governing bodies should continue to function ''without attendance of interest representatives nor visitors other than those specifically invited by the respective Chair as a speaker.''
Nuno Melo, a Portuguese MEP from the conservative European People's Party, first raised concerns in an email to Sassoli, asking him to explain ''the considered reasons for the exception granted to the citizen Greta Thunberg.''
Several other emails followed. Estonian liberal MEP Yana Toom wrote that ''there is no room in this House for double standards.''
Some populist MEPs '-- including those from parties that are skeptical of climate change and critical of Thunberg '-- were even more blunt.
The decision to maintain Thunberg's participation ''is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE!'' wrote Roman Haider, from Austria's far-right FP–, while referring to ''a totally incomprehensible hysteria because of Coronavirus.''
''This shows that unfortunately this Parliament is neither the house of pluralism nor the freedom of the European citizens,'' said Spanish MEP Jorge Buxad(C) Villalba from the far-right VOX.
The decision to close the Parliament to visitors prompted disruption and confusion in Brussels on Tuesday, as people arrived at the building to find they could not go in and the events they planned to attend had been called off.
Climate change,
EU staff,
Strap In: It's Going to Get Bumpy | Power Line
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 11:37
The big news over the weekend was not the coronavirus, contrary to what you might think from watching the news. The most consequential story of the weekend is the oil price war that has broken out between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Saudi Arabia has decided to increase its production and slash its price to punish Russia for not going along with OPEC quotas designed to prop up the price of oil, which has fallen by more than half over the last few months including today's price collapse. (Can't help reminding that all the certified ''smart people'' like John Kerry and Al Gore were telling us 15 years ago that we had reached ''peak oil,'' and more specifically that Saudi Arabia had likely reached its production peak and would be unable to increase its production over 10 million barrels a day. Heh.)
On the surface this Saudi move will impose significant pain on Russia, which depends on high oil prices to prop up its economy, and will also increase pressure on Iran for the same reason. Likewise American consumers, and oil-consuming sectors like the airlines, can likely look forward to some lower prices. And while the story of the Saudi-Russia feud may be entirely true, keep in mind that a protracted period of low oil prices is going to devastate America's oil production from fracking in Texas and elsewhere. A lot of the smaller and mid-sized independent producers who have been behind a lot of the increase in domestic oil production were already under a lot of pressure from falling oil prices. If the price stays down around the $30 level it is near today, a lot of the highly leveraged firms will default on loans or head to bankruptcy. Production will start to fall in a few months. How fast could the industry come back again once the price cycle swings back up? Hard to say. The industry is much more nimble than it used to be, and technological progress continues, allowing more and more firms to turn a profit, or at least remain solvent, at lower prices.
A collapse of America's domestic oil production would benefit Russia and Saudi Arabia in the long run, so it is impossible to rule out the idea that in fact Russia and Saudi Arabia are working in concert with the goal of squeezing American energy capacity, which in turn will hurt the re-election prospects of President Trump. I am always suspicious of ''our friends, the Saudis.'' The timing is highly suspect. With global oil demand already slack, the current reduction because of reduced air travel and other factors makes the Saudi decision highly opportunistic and most effective on the price point. We know Democrats have been hoping for a recession to damage Trump for a while now, and the media is doing its part to talk us into a recession with the bludgeon of the coronavirus. Now the oil price shock. Who would have thought that low oil prices would be a problem.
Meanwhile, remembering Warren Buffett's adage (adapted from Ben Graham I think) that the time to buy stocks is when everyone else is panicking, today is a great day to scoop up energy stocks'--but only if you have patience and some steady nerves. At current prices, for example, ExxonMobil is yielding nearly 8% on its dividend, and although Exxon faces some tough years ahead and may have to cut its dividend, even a 5% dividend beats the hell out of the near-0% yield that Treasury notes will soon be offering. But don't buy anything unless you have at least a three- to five-year time horizon.
Prediction: Speaking of Buffett, who is sitting on something like $100 billion in cash, I wouldn't be surprised to see him take a major stake in an oil company this week, perhaps ConocoPhillips, whose price is down 23 percent today, with total market cap this morning of about $40 billion. Almost pocket change for the Sage of Omaha.
As for California, well, the beatings will continue until morale improves (pic taken over the weekend here):
Trump Blames Market Drop on Oil Prices and the News Media - The New York Times
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 11:30
ORLANDO '-- President Trump blamed Monday's collapse of the stock markets on falling oil prices and the news media, dismissing the widening fear over coronavirus as he faced one of the most rattling days of his presidency.
Mr. Trump, arriving in Orlando on Monday morning for a campaign fund-raiser after spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate, did not respond to reporters who shouted questions about the tumbling markets, but he made his views known via his Twitter account.
''Saudi Arabia and Russia are arguing over the price and flow of oil,'' he wrote while Air Force One was landing in Orlando. ''That, and the Fake News, is the reason for the market drop!''
He sought to cast the decline in oil prices in positive terms. ''Good for the consumer, gasoline prices coming down!'' he wrote.
As for the coronavirus, he tried to reassure Americans by once again emphasizing that it remained a relatively low risk for most. ''So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu,'' he wrote. ''It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!''
Mr. Trump has been accused of underplaying the danger of the virus even as his administration has imposed travel restrictions and struggled to expand the distribution of testing kits. In private, the president has complained that his own health secretary was being ''alarmist,'' but fear over the virus has begun to ripple through the economy and society in remarkable ways, as organizations cancel conventions and travel, schools and universities begin to cancel in-person classes and airlines and hotels weigh significant layoffs.
The impact on American life was evident even in Mr. Trump's own schedule. In addition to the closed-door fund-raiser, he had originally been slated to address a health care conference in Orlando on Monday but it was canceled because of fear of coronavirus.
The president's mood appeared grim Monday morning as he left Palm Beach, swiftly boarding Air Force One without waiting for news photographers to arrive on the tarmac below the stairs to take his picture as he typically does. Arriving in Orlando, he made a point of shaking hands with Gov. Ron DeSantis and then briefly shaking hands with a crowd of supporters who had gathered.
Twitter, Elliott Strike Truce That Leaves CEO Dorsey in Place - WSJ
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 11:10
Twitter Inc. and activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. have agreed to a truce that will shake up the social-media company's board but leave Chief Executive Jack Dorsey in place.
The deal halts what was shaping up as one of the highest profile clashes between an activist investor to oust a founder of a high-profile tech company.
The agreement calls for Twitter to appoint two new board members to what was an eight-person board, with a promise to search for a new, third independent director, the company said.
Twitter also has committed to $2 billion in share repurchases. The buyback is to be funded in part by a $1 billion investment from technology-focused investment firm Silver Lake, the social-media company said. Twitter also pledged to deliver growth.
The agreement notably doesn't include the removal of Mr. Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter, a central pillar of Elliott's campaign, which came to light earlier this month. Elliott has taken a roughly 4% stake in Twitter, which is valued at about $26 billion.
Mr. Dorsey splits his time between Twitter and Square Inc., a financial technology company he also co-founded and for which he serves as chief executive.
The dual responsibility has frustrated some investors. Mr. Dorsey last week defended his workload, telling a Morgan Stanley event he has ''enough flexibility'' in his schedule to focus on critical issues at both Twitter and Square. He has previously said he spends equal time at both companies.
The agreement saves Mr. Dorsey from losing his CEO title at Twitter for a second time. He ran the company known best for allowing users to post short messages until 2008, when he was pushed out, in part because of technical problems with the platform. He returned as executive chairman in 2011 and regained the CEO title in 2015, giving up the chairmanship.
Elliott had also nominated four directors to Twitter's board including Jesse Cohn, its head of U.S. equity activism who will now join Twitter's board along with Egon Durban, co-CEO and managing partner of Silver Lake.
The Silver Lake investment comes in the form of 0.375% convertible senior notes due 2025.
The private-equity firm had looked at purchasing Twitter in the past and after news broke of Elliott's investment in the company, the firm reached out to Mr. Dorsey, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The agreement leaves open the possibility of executive change at Twitter. Both Messrs. Cohn and Durban will join a new committee to examine Twitter's leadership structure'--including the role of Mr. Dorsey'--with plans to announce its findings by the end of the year.
The social-media company Monday said it would strive to win a greater share of digital advertising business, where it has trailed giants such as Facebook Inc. and Google, owned by Alphabet Inc. Twitter said it would detail revenue growth targets in the fall.
The company also pledged to grow daily average use rate 20% or more per year. Twitter has 152 million daily average users, according to its latest quarterly figures. Facebook, which started just two years earlier now has more than 1.6 billion monthly users.
Twitter shares traded 1.1% lower after the announcement amid far steeper losses in the broader market.
Before Elliott's investment was revealed, Twitter's stock was little changed since Mr. Dorsey returned to the CEO role after a hiatus, even as shares of rival social network Facebook Inc. and the broader market took flight. Twitter's market capitalization, at just over $25 billion, is a fraction of that of Facebook.
Twitter stock took a brutal hit in October, falling 20% in one day after technical glitches in its advertising software roiled the company in the third quarter.
The stock was down slightly Monday morning at $33 on news of the so-called cooperation agreement after rallying since the Elliott push came to light.
The settlement comes just over a week after Elliott officials and Twitter management first sat down together to discuss the hedge fund's demands. The outcome fits a pattern that has been emerging for activists and their targets. In the fall, AT&T Inc. and Emerson Electric Co. managed to quickly end high-profile challenges by agreeing to make arguably modest changes.
Twitter's shares and financial performance have long lagged its popularity and influence in culture and politics. The company has also faced criticism over the sometimes-toxic discourse on its platform.
The agreement stipulates, however, that neither Elliott nor Silver Lake will interfere with the platform's policies or rules.
''It's time for Twitter to roll up our sleeves and get back to work with the support of our new directors,'' said Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal.
Write to Corrie Driebusch at
Wikipedia Deletes "List of Scientists who Disagree with the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming" in Astonishing Act of Censorship - Electroverse
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 10:32
In another disgusting indication of where climate science/debate is at today, a handful of Wikipedia editors have ''voted'' to delete the immensely useful and topical page: '' List of Scientists who Disagree with the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming '''...
Here's the reasoning for the censorship given by one of the Wiki editors:
''The result was delete. This is because I see a consensus here that there is no value in having a list that combines the qualities of a) being a scientist, in the general sense of that word, and b) disagreeing with the scientific consensus on global warming.''
In other words, this decision was apparently taken by a single individual, the 'Editor', in Wiki parlance, points out Dr Roger Higgs . His/her ''consensus'' (ironic choice of word) is based on the online discussion among Wikipedia 'Users' at that site ( link here ), each of whom was evidently asked to vote on whether to ''Keep'' or ''Delete'' the page. However, far from a consensus, by my count (please check it) there were 35 Deletes and 19 Keeps. What qualifies the Editor to dictate that 35 to 19 constitutes a consensus, and use that claim to justify deleting a key document on arguably the most important (and most expensive) global social issue since World War Two?
There were a number of sane voices in the mix, however '-- 19 by my count.
Here is one such voice falling on the side of ''keep'':
''KEEP!KEEP!KEEP! Those listed are not noteworthy? ''Any utility it ever had is long past?'' It's a list of cranks? Absolute rubbish. There are 4 explicit criteria for inclusion. 1) the individual must have published at least one peer-reviewed research article in the broad field of natural sciences; 2) he or she must have made a clear statement disagreeing with one or more of the IPCC Third Report's three main conclusions, and 3) the scientists has to have been described in reliable sources as a climate skeptic, denier, or in disagreement with any of the three main conclusions. Additionally, to ensure notability, only individuals with a wikipedia article can be included. Someone advocating for deletion, if the article is a mishmash of miscreants . . . I DARE YOU TO STOP BEING INTELLECTUALLY LAZY! Stop throwing up buzz words like ''denialist'' and ''consensus'' which provide you with an unjustified view from your perceived moral high ground. Pick a person or persons you don't think should be included, actually apply the four criteria and make an argument that they do or do not belong on the list! As for me, I've been an editor of this page for a little over a year. By my count, I've successfully added seven scientists to the list (I'll soon be recommending an 8th). . . and I've shown my work every time, and those seven met the criteria. And as to relevance . . . the last IPCC report, IPCC 5, seems to have cut its projected warming over the next two decades in half (see IPCC 5 Figure 11.25). And actual observed warming is in the bottom 2.5 percent of the IPCC 3 models' range. My god, this page is more relevant than ever.''
And here is the very last comment:
''You guys are doing very badly. Consider removing your bias. There is no such thing as consensus in science. It is all relative to one's person's head. Whereas you may think you are right, there are plenty real climate scientists who know that clima has always changed. I am a biologist and I am not part of this false consensus. Also, you guys use very bad words about people who don't agree with this ignorance of climate of yours. Bad wikipedia.''
Dissenting voices are key to scientific progress. There shouldn't be a system in place where some arbitrary (or otherwise) attempt at censorship can be successful on the back of loud ''opinions'''...
Fortunately, this wiki page formed the backbone of my article: ''THE LIST'' '-- SCIENTISTS WHO PUBLICLY DISAGREE WITH THE CURRENT CONSENSUS ON CLIMATE CHANGE (see link below), and so has been preserved, for now at least, until Electroverse is also scrubbed from existence (they're working on it)'...
Dr Roger Higgs concludes by noting the three BBC-style disingenuous omissions in the title alone: ''List of scientists who disagree with the scientific consensus on global warming'' '-- (1) these are not just any scientists, but well-known and, in many cases, distinguished scientists (Happer, Soon, Lindzen, etc, etc), in diverse fields of science; (2) they disagree with the consensus on man-made global warming (no educated person denies global warming; Earth has always alternately warmed and cooled); (3) the consensus is only among climate scientists (whose salaries, research grants, and reputations depend on public belief in man-made warming).
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift
How kids' books became universally woke - UnHerd
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 10:27
When I was a child and was dragged along to church against my will, I would occasionally fight the boredom by reading the small picture books they had lying around. They told the stories of the saints of the Catholic Church. It wasn't quite The X-Men, but reading about St Patrick banishing the snakes or Padre Pio's powers of bilocation was better than nothing. Anything but the boredom of the Mass and sanctimony of the miserable people around us.
The stories were propaganda, in the most benevolent sense '-- designed to promote a system of values that should be imparted onto children. The Jesuit saying, ''give me a child until seven and I will give you the man'', reflects the importance of shaping values at an early age.
I haven't been so diligent in bringing my own children to church, and I'm pretty sure they couldn't tell their St Catherine of Alexandria from their St Catherine of Sienna, but that's not to say they aren't being indoctrinated in the values of the ruling class's faith.
When my daughters were around six and seven, they started French classes at a children's library in our borough; I had been to our local library countless times but had mainly confined myself to the infant section, and older children's books were something of a revelation. The entire front desk area was made up of hagiographies of Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela.
And hagiography is the most accurate term: these books were just like the ones I used to read in church. Here Blessed Nelson forgave his jailors, here St Barack healed America of its racial sins '' and these are just a couple of examples.
More from this series Why are children's books so ugly? By Mary Harrington
It was a bit of a surprise '-- learning just how much the tone of kids' books had changed since I was young and we wore onions on our belts. Nowadays, progressive politics is ever-present in children's books. Which is fine, if you're a believer; but if you're a conservative, you're faced with raising your children in a culture which is filled with messages you disagree with '-- sometimes misleading, sometimes anecdotally true but not representative, often just anti-wisdom, giving children the worst possible advice in life. And it's becoming worse: since about 2016, children's books have grown way more explicitly political.
The children's literature section at Tate Modern
Last month, a friend went to Tate Modern and took a picture of the young children's section. Among the books on display are biographies of Greta Thunberg, something called Queer Heroes, another work called The Rainbow Flag, books about refugees, the bestselling Good Night Book for Rebel Girls '-- and its countless imitators. Whether you support it or not, this is propaganda; the aim is to raise a generation of progressives just as those Lives of the Saints were designed to bring forth young Christians.
And it works. Conservative ideas are very much in retreat, the subject of a brilliant new book I recently read (which, admittedly, I also wrote).
From a very young age, children are read books and shown films that teach them the core progressive messages: that we are all basically good and only behave badly because of circumstances; that borders and barriers are bad, stereotypes are wrong and girls ought to adopt traditional male gender roles if they want to be respected.
Stereotype inaccuracy is a popular idea '-- and a false one; in so many kids' stories the unusual stranger or alien or wild animal who turns up in the neighbourhood will defy the small-minded pessimist who expects the worst. When it comes to gender politics, no self-respecting children's book in the 21st century has girls aspiring towards being a princess and living happily ever after; to the post-ironic upper-middle-class parents who are the publishers' main audience, that would just be lame.
More from this author Why child labour beats school By Ed West
There's nothing wrong with all this, of course '-- and as a parent, it's a relief when daughters move on from the pinky-princess-fairy stage of cartoons and onto the more thoughtful stuff that questions gender stereotypes. That questioning is a natural part of growing up and books open their minds to potentially endless possibilities '-- before they reach maturity and realise that gender identity matches biological sex in the vast majority of cases. Unfortunately, our culture has become stuck in this adolescent stage of late.
My in-laws kept dozens of books from the 1970s and early '80s, which we read to our kids along with more recent ones. The general difference in tone was noticeable, progressive themes being almost totally absent in the older books. My Naughty Little Sister is naughty simply because she's a bloody nuisance, and it's not really celebrated either as some non-conforming, high-status trait; she's not a 'rebel girl', she's just annoying.
Of course, the Talmud of progressive children's literature is the Harry Potter series, preaching of a boy born to freedom-fighter parents who has the bad luck to be brought up in a stultifying, conservative Surrey suburb by his dully conventional uncle and aunt.After the geeky, open-minded protagonist is allowed to go to wizard school, what follows is a battle between two worldviews: that of the snake-like Slytherin house, which favours the pure-blooded and aristocratic, and the inclusive Gryffindor house, kind-hearted and welcoming to people of all backgrounds.
Suggested reading Our modern parenting is making monsters By Giles Fraser
The values in children's books have changed over the past few decades because society has undergone a revolution in values. But as with previous revolutions, in France and Russia '-- and with the earlier Protestant Reformation, too '-- the process has sped up with its own momentum. The revolutions of 1789 and February 1917 are followed by more extreme jolts; Luther is followed by Calvin and Munster.
So after decades of accelerating social change, during the 2010s there was a marked and radical shift, especially among the English-speaking upper-middle-class, christened ''the Great Awokening''. The term is a play on the Great Awakening, the 18th century religious revival in the United States '-- and the name is apt, since the movement has an obviously religious feel, sacralising victim groups and inspiring extreme hostility towards non-believers, heretics and apostates. Indeed poor old J.K. Rowling has herself been partly eaten by the revolution, after revealing herself to be a gender-critical feminist.
And so, with this great movement, there has been a proliferation of books for young children that aim to install progressive politics '-- and promote those most sacred of issues, women's empowerment and racial equality, and to a lesser extent gay and trans rights.
There are now children's books in the States with such names as A Is for Activists, D Is for Dreamers and W Is for Welcome: A Celebration of America's Diversity, as well as large numbers pushing the gender-is-a-social-construct narrative, such as One of a Kind, Like Me/Unico Como Yo, about a boy who wants to dress up as a princess.
Britain is embroiled in the revolution, too. I remember two Christmas's ago, almost every girl between 8 and 13 in my part of north London received a copy of that bestselling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls from some well-meaning relative (my elder daughter received two). The publishing industry has since cashed in on telling stories of heroic (often overlooked) females.
More from this series Children's literature has lost the plot By Polly Mackenzie
Parents can feel good that they are raising their offspring to be firm believers, Woke Babies who will ''raise their fists in the air'... cry out for justice'' and ''grow up to change the world.'' The book A is for Activist promises it is ''written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.''
There has also been a proliferation of political biographies for young children, including picture books about not only Obama or Mandela but Latino judge Sonia Sotomayor and even Elizabeth Warren. Likewise, over here there's a book about Remainer pin-up Lady Hale, called Equal to Everything: Judge Brenda and the Supreme Court.
It's not that I oppose children reading about Lady Hale or Elizabeth Warren; it's more that I couldn't even comprehend why anyone would wish for their children to do so. Unless they were true believers of a progressive new religion of kick-ass women, boys-who-want-to-be-girls and visionaries who heal people of their racism sickness.
I'm not, and seeing children's books being turned into a sort of religion, I feel like a ten-year-old again, wishing I could be reading The X-Men rather than sat in church.
Oil prices make biggest drop since 1991 Gulf War
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 00:25
Saudi Arabia has taken drastic measures after Russia refused to comply with OPEC efforts to stabilize the market. The economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak is cutting deep into global demand for fossil fuels.
Oil prices on Monday fell by 30%, the greatest fall since the 1991 Gulf War, after Saudi Arabia decided to slash prices on its inventory. The move was widely seen as a reaction to Russia's refusal to cut its oil production.
During a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last week, Russia said it would not go along with members' efforts to stabilize the market by cutting production. The oil market has seen major price swings due to fears of dwindling demand due to the global spread of COVID-19.
The OPEC+ meeting, which includes Russia, was supposed to agree to cuts of 1.5 million barrels per day. Russia's refusal to cut supply resulted in what some are describing as a price war.
Read more: Coronavirus outbreak hitting German supply chains with fears of economic paralysis
Deep cuts
Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, is trying to hit back at Russia, according to analysts. Although Russia is not a member of OPEC, it is a key fellow exporter and typically an ally to the group. Some OPEC members have insisted on non-OPEC allies, such as Russia, make similar production cuts.
Brent crude futures fell by 30% to $31.02 per barrel. It showed a slight recovery to $36.06, a drop of 20%.
The current supply deal between OPEC and Russia expires in March. Saudi Arabia plans to boost crude output above 10 million barrels per day, and also slashed its April official selling prices by $6 to $8.
On Monday, stock markets plunged owing to coronavirus fears and the free fall in oil prices.
Read more: How will the coronavirus affect the world economy?
tg/ls (AFP, AP, Reuters)
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'Manipulated media': Twitter applies new label to edited video of Biden
Mon, 09 Mar 2020 00:08
The Twitter app. | Matt Rourke, File/AP Photo
Twitter applied its new ''manipulated media'' label for the first time Sunday on an edited video of Joe Biden that a White House official posted and that President Donald Trump retweeted.
On Saturday, the White House social media director, Dan Scavino, tweeted a video of the 2020 Democratic candidate telling supporters in Missouri, ''We cannot win this re-election, excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump.''
By the end of the night, Trump had shared the video twice, writing, ''I agree with Joe!'' It also got a retweet from the Trump campaign manager, Brad Parscale.
However, the Scavino tweet '-- which was viewed almost 5 million times as of Sunday evening '-- had cut off the rest of the sentence.
''We can only re-elect Donald Trump if, in fact, we get engaged in this circular firing squad here,'' the former vice president had said. ''It's got to be a positive campaign, so join us.''
The edited video appeared as opponents are raising questions about Biden's cognitive ability and whether the 77-year-old candidate has dementia '-- a new line of attack that has been amplified by some backers of Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the former vice president's rival for the Democratic nomination. The Trump campaign has made Biden's verbal stumbles and gaffes a focal point of its messaging.
On Sunday afternoon, reports emerged that Twitter had applied its ''manipulated media'' label to the video. However, a spokesperson noted that the label was not currently showing up in Tweet detail, though it was visible in the timeline. The platform is working on a fix.
Twitter's new policy, which went into effect on Thursday, defines manipulated posts as any photo, video or audio that has been ''significantly altered or fabricated.'' The company will remove the media if it is found likely to ''cause serious harm,'' and, regardless, at least label tweets as erroneous or doctored. In some cases, Twitter will also offer additional context about the video.
The policy coincides with a recent rise of doctored videos of politicians: There was the edited video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, making her seem as though she was drunkenly slurring words. And there was a different Biden clip edited to suggest he made a racist comment.
Alexandra Levine contributed to this report.
Coronavirus impact: China invokes 'force majeure' to protect businesses
Sun, 08 Mar 2020 23:58
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According to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, China has issued 4,811 force majeure certificates as of Mar. 3 due to the epidemic, state media Xinhua reported. Those contracts were worth 373.7 billion Chinese yuan ($53.79 billion), according to the report.While such documents will help entities claiming against one another in the Chinese domestic markets, most claims will not hold up internationally, said international law firm Holman Fenwick Willan.Employees work on the production line of high-precision sheet aluminium at a factory of Shandong Weiqiao Pioneering Group Company Limited on November 23, 2019 in Zouping, Shandong Province of China.
Tang Ke | VCG via Getty Images
Widespread disruption brought on by the coronavirus outbreak has hammered global supply chains and spurred Chinese companies to declare "force majeure" '-- a provision that exempts them from contractual obligations. But experts warn there's a high chance such a move may not work.
A force majeure event occurs when unforeseeable circumstances, such as natural catastrophes, prevent one party from fulfilling its contractual duties, absolving them from penalties.
Since late January, the Chinese government has implemented city-wide lockdowns and large-scale quarantines that effectively curbed the movements of millions in China as the country seeks to contain the COVID-19 virus. Those restrictions have hurt businesses as operations of factories and facilities came to a near-standstill.
According to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, a government-linked entity, China has issued 4,811 force majeure certificates as of Mar. 3 due to the epidemic. They covered contracts worth 373.7 billion Chinese yuan ($53.79 billion), state media Xinhua reported. Such certificates are issued by the government to companies that apply for them.
In a previous update, the council said applicants span across 30 industries and sectors with high applications rate include manufacturing, wholesale and retail and construction.
Force majeure may not work outside ChinaBut Chinese entities may face a "rude awakening" when they try to claim force majeure against counterparties internationally, said Brian Perrott, a London-based partner at international law firm Holman Fenwick Willan.
PRC (People's Republic of China) entities that have been issued the certificates face a rude awakening if they think they will allow them to get out of contracts with international parties.
Brian Perrott
partner at Holman Fenwick Willan
While such documents may help entities claiming against one another in the Chinese domestic markets, most claims will not hold up on the global stage, Perrott told CNBC in an email. "Most of these FM (force majeure) claims will not succeed," the law firm added.
"PRC (People's Republic of China) entities that have been issued the certificates face a rude awakening if they think they will allow them to get out of contracts with international parties," it added.
That is because the majority of trading contracts between China and international parties are governed by English law, which only allows parties to claim force majeure if the document includes very specific clauses.
Force majeure clauses in English law contracts are usually "very lengthy and detailed, and outline exactly which events can be used to trigger FM," said Perrott. "They will often specifically refer to epidemics, which would cover the coronavirus."
The party claiming force majeure would then need to prove that their ability to meet the contract was "impaired" or made "impossible" by the coronavirus. "The latter, in particular, is extremely challenging to prove. Most FM claims fail," he added.
French oil giant Total has already rejected a force majeure notice from a liquefied natural gas buyer in China, Reuters reported.
'Catch-all' vs explicit provisionsSuch provisions are only relevant if the contracts have a force majeure clause to begin with.
According to an analysis by legal technology provider Kira Systems, just 72% of the contracts reviewed '-- or 94 out of 130 '-- included force majeure provisions. The commercial contracts filed between Feb. 2018 and Feb. 2020 involved at least one Chinese entity.
Of the 94 contracts with the force majeure provisions, just 13 of them explicitly state that public health events '-- such as flu, epidemic, serious illness, plagues, disease, emergency or outbreaks '-- would constitute a force majeure situation, Kira Systems found. Unforeseen public health situations were not expressly included in the remaining 81 contracts.
"This data suggests a gap in contract drafting, at least from the perspective of the entities affected by the coronavirus outbreak seeking to invoke their force majeure clauses," wrote Jennifer Tsai, the company's legal knowledge engineering associate.
English law encourages both parties in a force majeure situation to take steps to mitigate the event and the consequences '' even if those actions are outside the terms of the contract.
Brian Perrott
partner at Holman Fenwick Willan
Most of the contracts with force majeure provisions reviewed by Kira Systems also use a general "catch-all" language stating that "any other events that cannot be predicted and are unpreventable and unavoidable by the affected Party" constitute force majeure, the company said in its report. This flexibility means that companies need to consider if the outbreak constitutes an unpreventable and unpredictable force majeure event, Tsai wrote.
Of the 94 contracts that included force majeure provisions, 44% included acts of government in its definition, the Kira analysis found.
That means that "affected parties could ostensibly cite the governmental extension of the Lunar New Year holiday, the mandated closing of businesses, and travel restrictions in Hubei province and other provinces, as 'acts of government' beyond their control in order to avoid incurring liability for delays in performance or failure to perform," said Tsai.
Talk it overGiven that the coronavirus outbreak is '-- by most expectations '-- supposed to be short-lived, Perrott advises the parties in a contract to resolve the issues rather than enter a dispute.
A former vice minister at China's Ministry of Commerce, Wei Jianguo, told CNBC in an interview on Sunday, that companies want to maintain their credibility with business partners. He added that work is picking up in areas outside Hubei, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
Wei, who is now vice chairman and deputy executive officer at Beijing-based think tank, China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said he expected the number of new force majeure certificates to fall into the double digits in the next 10 days.
Perrott advises both parties in a contract to take steps to mitigate any disruptive event due to the viral outbreak.
"English law encourages both parties in a force majeure situation to take steps to mitigate the event and the consequences '' even if those actions are outside the terms of the contract," he told CNBC.
"It's also good sense for parties to try to resolve the matter amicably. After all, the coronavirus is nobody's fault," said Perrott.
'-- CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.
Democrats' hunt for Trump slayer may lead to Hillary Clinton comeback: Goodwin
Sun, 08 Mar 2020 22:51
By Michael Goodwin
March 7, 2020 | 9:49pm
Hillary Clinton attends the New York premiere of "Hillary." Photo Image Press/Splash News
Now that the once-sprawling field of Democrats seeking the presidency has become a two-man race, many in the party are breathing a sigh of relief. All the more so because Joe Biden is the clear front-runner and the dreaded Bernie Sanders looks to be fading.
So it's all set. Biden will be the nominee and give the party a solid chance of scoring a November trifecta: beating President Trump, taking the Senate and holding the House.
Count me as skeptical. Instead of a smooth ride, it's more likely that the Dems' desperate search for a Trump slayer will hit more turbulence and an alternative to Biden still could be necessary.
Guess what '-- one just happens to be waiting in the wings, hoping for an invitation. Before you laugh at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton comeback, consider the too-weird twists and turns of Biden's campaign.
The widespread belief that the former veep is ready and able to go the distance strikes me as wishful thinking at best. It is suspect because it is so sudden and reflects a complete reversal of the sentiment about him less than two weeks ago.
After he finished fourth in Iowa, fifth in New Hampshire and a distant second in Nevada, the consensus was that unless Biden won big in the Feb. 29 South Carolina primary, he was toast.
The political obituaries were already written and blamed his demise largely on the notion that his party had left him behind. Then there were his brain freezes and frequent bouts of oddball references, as in ''make sure you have the record player on at night.'' The kindest commentaries held that old Joe had lost a step.
Then came the South Carolina blowout. With the strong backing of black voters, Biden racked up nearly half the total vote and joyously declared, ''We're alive!''
He beat six rivals and the all-important expectations of a more narrow win. This was manna from heaven for a party frightened by the prospect of a Sanders nomination and instantly the word went out for the also-rans to circle the wagons around Biden. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg obeyed while Tom Steyer simply withdrew.
Three days later, Biden again beat expectations by winning 10 of 14 Super Tuesday states against Sanders, Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren.
Now the pressure to unite led Bloomberg to quit after just one day on the ballot and turn his lavishly funded campaign into a Biden super PAC. When Warren quit without making an endorsement, Sanders was a weakened, lone opponent. The cranky commie sympathizer probably can't stage a comeback, but Biden is capable of blowing his chances all by himself.
His revival can't erase the memory of the sad failure he was just two weeks ago, nor are the cognitive issues suddenly resolved by a winning streak.
Put it this way: Which Joe Biden will we see from now on? Does the new, improved version have the stamina and mental health to go all the way? Or will the long summer and the attacks from Trump on him and his family break him?
It is noteworthy that his wife, Jill Biden, seems to be by his side far more often. The image is that of a nurse or mediator between him and the world.
Jill Biden looks on as her husband Joe celebrates his Super Tuesday wins at an event in Los Angeles. Getty ImagesQuestions about whether he is capable of being president can't be avoided. That should force the party to quietly consider others who could be called upon at the July convention to take the nomination if Biden reverts.
Otherwise, Sanders would get the crown, and I don't believe Dem leaders will let that happen. They realize he would be an Electoral College disaster and cost them their gravy train of power, patronage and donors.
But who are the alternatives? All the supposed moderates '-- Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Bloomberg '-- were thoroughly rejected by primary voters. The prickly Warren finished third in her home state.
All of which leaves Clinton as the best backup plan. She's hardly my cup of tea but for all her problems, including doubts about her physical stamina, she is a fundraising machine, has a true following and could hit the ground running.
And, in case you hadn't noticed, she's advertising her availability.
It's surely no coincidence that ''Hillary'' was released Friday, during the height of the primary season. The sweetheart documentary, complete with broad promotion, stories, reviews and interviews with her, is a massive and slick selling job.
Once again and always, she is selling herself. The fact that she and Bill Clinton cooperated make it certain the streaming Hulu project will add nothing new that would damage her. The four-hour biopic seems to be just another of her airbrushed memoirs, albeit one you can watch.
This makeover, according to reviews, tries to inject dashes of glamour and cultural gravitas about feminism into what is essentially a loser's story.
While it's impossible to miss the rollout and her glee in using the film and interviews to stick knives into Trump and Sanders, it's also impossible to miss the timing.
All the party has to do is call. Her bag is packed.
Indeed, Clinton would have to be dead not to dream of a miracle, one that would give her the victory fate has twice denied her. Her platform writes itself.
She didn't really lose the 2016 election. Trump colluded with the Russians to deprive her of her civil right to be president. Anything else is just a Republican talking point and part of the vast right-wing conspiracy.
Or maybe you're a deplorable?
You're with her, or a misogynist.
Oh, what fun. Merely to imagine doing all that again leads me to wish the very best of health to Joe Biden.
Fallout from FBI's 'political' problem
With the coronavirus panic and the roller-coaster stock market grabbing headlines, other important news gets little attention. A prime example is yet another report detailing breakdowns in the FBI.
This one, from the Justice Department's inspector general, focuses on ''lapses'' in cases involving domestic terrorism.
The report cited at least six attacks where the FBI had investigated those involved beforehand but dropped the ball. They included the Boston Marathon bombers and the shooter in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Just a hunch, but perhaps the FBI would do a better job of protecting Americans from the real bad guys if it kept its nose out of politics.
Sanders' '3rd' option
Reader Scott McLaughlin suggests the Democratic sweepstakes could have taken a different turn if Bernie Sanders had been a street fighter. He writes: ''Sanders blew it. Seeing what was happening, he just accepted it. All he had to do was put out a story saying he might launch a third-party effort. It would have stopped the movement to Biden in its tracks.''

Clips & Documents

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