Art for episode 1272

1272: Buy Stamps!

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 57m
August 27th, 2020
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Executive Producers: Sir Danny Carroll, Marc in Manhattan, David Drake, Andrew Yung, Sir Baltimore John of the Mudflats

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Luke Rayner, The Viscount of London and the South East., Steven Reilly, Christopher Blanco, Sir Real Estate of the North Coast, Brett W

Cover Artist: March

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
0:37
Hurricane Laura
Guest producer
2:00
COVID-19
Guest producer
15:44
Covid vs. Influenza
Guest producer
23:56
Covid vs. Hydroxychloroquine
Guest producer
28:37
Covid Miscellany
Guest producer
38:34
Is The Independent Seeking a New Revenue Stream?
Guest producer
42:21
Update from the Former New York Banker
Guest producer
43:40
Ripple Global Currency
Guest producer
46:40
Build Back Better / Green New Deal
Guest producer
58:05
The Republican National Convention
Guest producer
1:33:30
Executive & Associate Executive Producers
Guest producer
1:56:49
Podcasting 2.0 /w Joe Rogan
Guest producer
2:04:00
No Agenda Joker Cover
Guest producer
2:06:11
The Rorschach Riots in Kenosha
Guest producer
2:20:22
Iso Suggestions
Guest producer
2:21:30
Indictment of Bannon (and Charities in General)
Guest producer
2:26:59
Trump Calls for Testing of Debate Enhancing Drugs
Guest producer
2:30:19
Kellyanne and Claudia Conway
Guest producer
2:32:53
Producer Donations and Updates
Guest producer
2:37:42
Eric "The Shill" Goes on a Listening Tour
Guest producer
2:39:58
No Agenda Meetups and Reports
Guest producer
2:43:26
OTG Updates
Guest producer
2:46:56
Q-Anon Predicts the Swoop
Guest producer
2:51:41
The Lost Biden Gaffe
Guest producer
2:52:25
Sandy Ocasio-Cortez Works to Save the Postal Service
Guest producer
2:53:27
End of Show Mix
Guest producer
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2020
School choice
Gylfoil Judge Janine 2.0
Vernon Jones Republican Obama?
National anthem at end of pence
Pence is a radio guy
I’ve been to Bimiji Minnesota
Trump Minnesota and Maine for the win! Logging and lobster
Melania continues to say OUR country
It's Trump's turn to sway voters. Here's what to watch for tonight at the Republican National Convention. - Chicago Tribune
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 11:33
Associated Press |
Aug 24, 2020 at 5:49 AM
Delegates began to arrive on Friday for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. on Aug. 21, 2020. (Travis Dove / The New York Times)
LAS VEGAS '-- Joe Biden and his Democratic Party used their convention last week to argue that the underpinnings of American Democracy hang in the balance this November. This week, it's President Donald Trump's turn.
Republicans will renominate the president and highlight four years of the Trump administration and promises he delivered on, such as overturning business regulations, pulling out of international agreements, appointing two U.S. Supreme Court justices and transforming the U.S. immigration system.
While Democrats held an entirely virtual convention, pulled off without any major technical mishaps, the Republicans are holding a pared-down version of an in-person gathering on Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina. The convention runs through Thursday and includes a presidential speech from the White House South Lawn and a vice presidential address from Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
The convention was originally scheduled to be held in Charlotte until Trump moved it to Jacksonville, Florida, with the hope the Republican-led state would allow thousands to attend. But Trump had to scrap that plan as coronavirus cases continued to climb.
What to watch at the convention:
The daytime business of the GOP delegates will be available starting at 9 a.m. ET on the GOP convention's social media channels and AT&T U-VERSE, Direct TV, Twitch, Youtube and Amazon Prime TV. The convention will continue streaming at those places when the prime-time programming starts at 8:30 p.m. ET (a half-hour earlier than the DNC convention) and runs through 11 p.m. ET. CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC and PBS will air the full prime-time presentation while ABC, CBS, Fox News Channel and NBC will air the final hour, from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Renomination and the platform
The GOP has planned for six delegates from each state and territory, for a total of 336, to attend in-person proceedings for the convention's first day in Charlotte. They'll hold a roll-call vote to renominate the president, but unlike the Democrats, it won't be a prime-time affair. Instead, the voting will take place Monday morning, with a recap shown during the evening's programming. Delegates will also vote on several resolutions, including measures defending October's Columbus Day holiday, which honors the polarizing 15th century explorer, and opposing ''cancel culture.''
Trump gives a formal acceptance speech Thursday night from the South Lawn, but he's expected to make an appearance every night in the 10 p.m. Eastern hour. It's unclear to what extent he'll make remarks, but Monday's theme, ''Land of Promise'' highlights how Trump helped renew the American dream. Speakers are likely to renew Trump's focus from last week drawing contrasts with his Democratic opponent and portraying Biden as an ineffective career politician and a ''puppet of the radical left,'' aligning him with progressives like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. While Democrats repeatedly mentioned the impact of the virus and hammered Trump's response to it, expect Republicans to defend the president on the issue but feature it less prominently.
Republicans seen as potential 2024 presidential candidates are sprinkled throughout the week's proceedings. On Monday, two potential contenders from the Palmetto State will get their chance in the spotlight: Former Ambassador to the U.N. and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, followed by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who is set to give the prominent closing speech.
Democrats tried to show a united, diverse base and featured Republicans backing Biden. Trump has thus far focused more on his loyal base than expanding his coalition. Monday's lineup mostly stays in that vein.
The opening day's speakers include some of the president's staunchest supporters, such as Reps. Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz; Charlie Kirk, the president of the pro-Trump organization Turning Point USA; the president's son Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is also the campaign's national finance chair.
Others include House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and former Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell. Also speaking: Tanya Weinreis, a Montana coffee shop owner who received federal loans to pay her employees during the coronavirus; Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed in the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida; and Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who waved firearms at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home this summer.
After Democrats pointedly included Republicans during their convention, Republicans have one slated to speak Monday: Vernon Jones, a Democratic former state lawmaker from Georgia who resigned from office in April after breaking with his party and endorsing Trump.
The Democratic convention featured every living Democratic president and the party's 2004 presidential nominee, John Kerry. The Republican Party, transformed under Trump, is not expected to feature at its convention the only living GOP ex-president, President George W. Bush, or the party's 2012 nominee. Mitt Romney. Neither man voted for Trump in 2016 or has endorsed him this year.
Recommended on Chicago Tribune
The new Rose Garden is designed for a monarch.
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 04:21
In the patriarchal establishment that is the White House, care of the Rose Garden has long been entrusted to the lady of the house. Originally installed by Edith Roosevelt (wife of Theodore), the garden was redesigned by Ellen Axson Wilson and given its modern look by Jacqueline Kennedy. So it should not have come as a surprise when earlier this summer the White House announced that our current first lady, Melania Trump, would put her own personal stamp on the garden.
But when the revamped Rose Garden was opened to news media on Saturday, there was little in the new design to suggest a feminine touch. The exuberant flower beds, bursting with colors, were replaced by disciplined rows of green bushes interspersed with roses in muted pastels; the crab apple trees that had given both color and shade had been uprooted and removed, the central lawn now framed on three sides by a rigid rectangular limestone path. One of the White House’s most human enclosures had been replaced by a severe geometrical space of right angles and straight lines, all converging on the Oval Office—the seat of national power.
It’s hard to say how much Melania actually had to do with turning the Rose Garden into an advertisement for her husband’s vision of an imperial presidency. She may have been the driving force, even if the symbolism of the changes is so on-the-nose it could’ve been concocted by Republican strategists preparing for their national convention. What is clear is that the garden’s true designers were neither Melania nor anyone else working in the White House, but two men, both of them long dead: the master gardener André Le Nôtre and his patron, King Louis XIV.
For more than 40 years, beginning in 1661, Le Nôtre labored to create at Versailles the grandest and most imposing royal garden the world had ever seen. By the time of his death the grounds had become a geometrical world of precise angles, symmetry, and straight open avenues, all converging on the royal palace on the hill, and the king’s bedchamber at its heart. At Versailles, nothing was hidden from the king’s gaze, and his power reached instantly and unopposed to every corner of the land. It was an emblem of Louis’ ideal of royal absolutism, impressing both his subjects and foreign visitors with the Sun King’s unlimited power.
Despite its royal roots, a formal geometrical garden is hardly out of place in D.C. The city’s designer, after all, was a Frenchman, Pierre L’Enfant, who had learned his craft in the gardens of Louis XIV’s successors and imprinted the American capital with their feel and power. The National Mall, for example, with its broad straight avenues converging symmetrically on Capitol Hill, is resonant with echoes of Versailles. It is therefore no surprise that the Rose Garden, too, spreading out in front of the West Wing, has from the beginning incorporated formal elements in the French style.
But the White House is not a king’s palace, and a garden bespeaking absolute power was clearly unacceptable. And so, changes needed to be made: Trees were planted, adding a touch of natural beauty and obstructing lines of sight and power; an irregular curving path was laid out along the garden’s eastern end, leading to a very un-Versailles-like seating area, where the president and his guests can take their lunch. Along with the overflowing beds of brightly colored flowers, these touches made sure that the president’s private garden would never be mistaken for an absolute monarch’s domain.
Just as the Rose Garden’s open vistas are derived from French gardens, the elements introduced to constrain them draw on the rival English school of gardening. As far back as the 1700s, Englishmen alarmed by the ambitions of their neighbors across the channel adopted a style that was a political and well as aesthetic riposte to the pretensions of Versailles. In place of open vistas and straight lines, they enveloped their country houses with naturalistic landscapes of shady woods, bubbling streams, and winding paths. Neither lines of vision nor lines of power would flow uninterrupted in an English landscape, and those who wished to rule would do so with caution, never knowing what lay beyond the next bend in their path. If Le Nôtre’s creation spoke of unlimited royal power, those of his English counterpart, “Capability” Brown, warned of its limits, and the dangers of overreach.
The old Rose Garden was a masterful balance between the assertion of power, proper in the house of the chief executive, and its limitations, essential in a democracy. But all that is now gone. With trees uprooted, flower beds tamed, and straight pathways installed, restraint has been cast aside and the Rose Garden has been turned into Versailles in miniature. Every corner of the garden is now visible to the man in the Oval Office, all lines of sight lead to him, and all power flows from him.
We do not know whether Louis XIV ever uttered the famous words attributed to him, “L’état, c’est moi” (“the state is me”). But he didn’t have to: The magnificent garden created for him by Le Nôtre proclaimed it more eloquently than he could ever have. The new Rose Garden, reconstituted as an emblem of unrestricted power, will do no less for Donald Trump.
RNC fact check: False claims bountiful on first night of convention - Chicago Tribune
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 12:08
WASHINGTON '-- President Donald Trump made a dizzying array of misleading claims about voting fraud and health care as fellow Republicans opened their convention with speeches distorting the agenda of his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
Trump falsely asserted that he was the one who ensured that people with preexisting medical problems will be covered by health insurance; actually that was Democratic President Barack Obama. Several speakers accused Biden of proposing to defund police, ban fracking, take over health care and open borders '-- none of that true.
A look at statements Monday at the Republican National Convention:
TRUMP: ''We protected your preexisting conditions. Very strongly protected preexisting ... and you don't hear that.''
THE FACTS: You don't hear it because it's not true.
People with preexisting medical problems have health insurance protections because of Obama's health care law, which Trump is trying to dismantle.
One of Trump's alternatives to Obama's law '-- short-term health insurance, already in place '-- doesn't have to cover preexisting conditions. Another alternative is association health plans, which are oriented to small businesses and sole proprietors and do cover preexisting conditions.
Neither of the two alternatives appears to have made much difference in the market.
Meanwhile, Trump's administration is pressing the Supreme Court for full repeal of the Obama-era law, including provisions that protect people with preexisting conditions from health insurance discrimination.
With ''Obamacare'' still in place, preexisting conditions continue to be covered by regular individual health insurance plans.
Insurers must take all applicants, regardless of medical history, and charge the same standard premiums to healthy people and those who are in poor health, or have a history of medical problems.
Before the Affordable Care Act, any insurer could deny coverage '-- or charge more '-- to anyone with a preexisting condition who was seeking to buy an individual policy.
Democratic attacks on Republican efforts to repeal the health law and weaken preexisting condition protections proved successful in the 2018 midterms, when Democrats won back control of the House.
TRUMP, on mail-in voting: ''Absentee '-- like in Florida '-- absentee is good. But other than that, they're very, very bad.''
THE FACTS: He's making a false distinction. Mail-in ballots are cast in the same way as absentee mail ballots, with the same level of scrutiny such as signature verification in many states.
In more than 30 states and the District of Columbia, voters have a right to ''no excuse'' absentee voting. That means they can use mail-in ballots for any reason, regardless of whether a person is out of town or working.
In Florida, the Legislature in 2016 voted to change the wording of such balloting from ''absentee'' to ''vote-by-mail'' to make clear a voter can cast such ballots if they wish. So there is no ''absentee'' voting in that state, as Trump alludes to.
More broadly, voter fraud has proved exceedingly rare. The Brennan Center for Justice in 2017 ranked the risk of ballot fraud at 0.00004% to 0.0009%, based on studies of past elections.
Only nine states currently have plans for ''universal'' mail-in voting, where ballots are sent automatically to registered voters. Five of those states relied on mail-in ballots even before the coronavirus pandemic raised concerns about voting in person.
TRUMP, on the November vote count and Democrats: ''We have to be very, very careful and this time they are trying to do it with the whole post office scam. They will blame it on the post office. You can see them setting it up.''
THE FACTS: No postal scam has emerged from the Democrats. Instead Trump has given credence to suspicions that he wants to suppress mail-in voting to help his chances in the election.
He's said as much. In an interview this month, he admitted he's trying to starve the U.S. Postal Service of money in order to make it harder to process an expected surge of mail-in ballots, which he worries could cost him the election.
Trump explicitly noted funding provisions that Democrats are seeking in a relief package that has stalled on Capitol Hill. Without the additional money, he said, the Postal Service won't have the resources to handle a flood of ballots from voters who are seeking to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.
''If we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money,'' Trump told Fox Business Network. ''That means they can't have universal mail-in voting; they just can't have it.''
Over the weekend, the House approved legislation that would reverse recent changes in postal operations and send $25 billion to shore up the agency before the November election, but the White House has said Trump would veto it.
During a House hearing, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy acknowledged that Trump's repeated attacks on mail-in ballots are ''not helpful,'' but he denied that recent cuts were linked to the election.
TRUMP, on defective ballots in an election: ''What does defective mean? It means fraud.''
THE FACTS: No, defective ballots do not equate to fraud. The overwhelming majority aren't.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, the vast majority of ballots are disqualified because they arrive late, a particular worry this year because of recent U.S. Postal Service delays and an expected surge in mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ballots also are deemed defective if there is a missing signature '-- common with newer voters unfamiliar with the process '-- or it doesn't match what's on file. In addition, some states require absentee voters to get a witness or notary to sign their ballots.
''None of those are fraud,'' said Wendy Weiser, director of Brennan's democracy program at NYU School of Law. When suspected cases are investigated for potential fraud, studies have borne out the main reason for defects is voter mistake, she said.
Defective ballots also disproportionately impact voters of color, and recent lawsuits have successfully challenged some requirements as posing health risks or disenfranchising voters. Earlier this year, for instance, a federal judge ruled that a South Carolina requirement to have witnesses to mail-in ballots could put voters' health at risk and suspended it for the June primary. Others states including Minnesota and Rhode Island have also suspended that requirement due to the pandemic.
While the rates of defective ballots are unacceptable, ''people should still feel confident in their votes, and they should follow-up,'' Weiser said. ''People should know these problems are being fought over and hopefully many will be mitigated and addressed before November.''
REP. STEVE SCALISE of Louisiana on the police: ''Joe Biden has embraced the left's insane mission to defund them.''
THE FACTS: No, Biden has explicitly rejected the call by some on the left to defund the police. He has proposed more money for police, conditioned on improvements in their practices.
Biden's criminal justice agenda, released long before the protests over racial injustice, proposes more federal money for ''training that is needed to avert tragic, unjustifiable deaths'' and hiring more officers to ensure that departments are racially and ethnically reflective of the populations they serve.
Specifically, he calls for a $300 million infusion into federal community policing grant programs. That's more money, not less.
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley leaves after speaking during the Republican National Convention on Aug. 24, 2020. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)
NIKKI HALEY, former ambassador to the United Nations, on the Democrats: ''They want a government takeover of health care. They want to ban fracking and kill millions of jobs.''
REP. JIM JORDAN of Ohio on the Democratic agenda: ''Defund the police, defund border patrol and defund our military.''
RONNA McDANIEL, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee: ''You deserve to know that they would ban fracking and eliminate fossil fuels, which would kill millions of good-paying jobs and raise the cost of driving our cars and heating our homes. You deserve to know that they want a complete government takeover of our health care system, so moms like me won't be able to take our kids to the same pediatrician they've been seeing for years.''
THE FACTS: Those aren't Biden's positions. A number of Republican speakers seized on proposals of the Democratic left, in some cases distorting those positions, and assigned them to Biden, who doesn't share those views.
He does not favor a government takeover of health care; instead he proposes building on ''Obamacare,'' which preserves the private insurance market while expanding Medicaid.
He also did not endorse proposals to cease border enforcement or even to decriminalize illegal crossings.
Biden supports banning only new oil and gas permits, fracking included, on federal land. But most U.S. production is on private land '-- the U.S. Bureau of Land Management says production on federal land accounted for less than 10% of oil and gas in 2018.
In a March 15 primary debate, Biden misstated his energy policy, suggesting he would allow no new fracking. His campaign quickly corrected the record. Biden has otherwise been consistent on his middle-of-the-road position, going so far as to tell an anti-fracking activist that he ''ought to vote for somebody else'' if he wanted an immediate fracking ban.
Donald Trump Jr. addresses the Republican National Convention from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, on Aug. 24, 2020. (Pete Marovich / The New York Times)
DONALD TRUMP JR. on the coronavirus response: ''The president quickly took action and shut down travel from China.''
THE FACTS: He didn't shut down travel from China. He restricted it. Dozens of countries took similar steps to control travel from hot spots before or around the same time the U.S. did.
The U.S. restrictions that took effect Feb. 2 continued to allow travel to the U.S. from China's Hong Kong and Macao territories over the past five months. The Associated Press reported that more than 8,000 Chinese and foreign nationals based in those territories entered the U.S. in the first three months after the travel restrictions were imposed.
Additionally, more than 27,000 Americans returned from mainland China in the first month after the restrictions took effect. U.S. officials lost track of more than 1,600 of them who were supposed to be monitored for virus exposure.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, the No. 2 official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also told The Associated Press that the federal government was slow to understand how much coronavirus was spreading from Europe, which helped drive the acceleration of outbreaks across the U.S. in late February. Trump didn't announce travel restrictions for many European countries until mid-March.
DONALD TRUMP JR.: ''The president acted quickly and ensured ventilators got to hospitals that needed them most. He delivered PP&E to our brave front-line workers.''
THE FACTS: No, not all hospitals and front-line workers got the ventilators and personal protective equipment they needed. States were left scrambling in the early weeks of the pandemic, while Trump scoffed at some of their requests, calling them inflated.
New York acquired a shipment of 1,000 ventilators f rom the Chinese government and 140 from the state of Oregon. Massachusetts borrowed the New England Patriots' jet to pick up 1 million masks from China.
While California Gov. Gavin Newsom was tracking down 10,000 ventilators for his state, he got 170 broken ones from the national stockpile. And a federal shipment of 300,000 N95 masks that Illinois was supposed to receive in March turned out to be less-effective surgical masks instead, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at the time.
DONALD TRUMP JR, on his father: ''So if you're looking for hope, look to the man who did what the failed Obama-Biden administration never could do and built the greatest economy our country has ever seen.''
THE FACTS: That's false. The economy was healthy before the coronavirus pandemic hit but not the best in U.S. history.
Economic gains largely followed along the lines of an expansion that started more than a decade ago under Obama. And while posting great job and stock market numbers, Trump never managed to achieve the rates of economic growth he promised in the 2016 campaign, nor growth rates seen in the past.
The Obama-Trump years yielded the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, but not the greatest,
McDANIEL: ''You deserve to know about their plans to raise taxes on 82% of Americans.''
THE FACTS: That's not the plan. Biden says he won't raise taxes on anyone making under $400,000.
An analysis of Biden's tax plan by the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Wharton Budget Model in March found that the bottom 90 percent of income earners would not pay more in federal income taxes under Biden's proposal.
TRUMP JR. on his father: ''He's pledged to repeal the Trump tax cuts, which were the biggest in our country.''
THE FACTS: Trump's tax cuts are nowhere close to the biggest in U.S. history.
It's a $1.5 trillion tax cut over 10 years. As a share of the total economy, a tax cut of that size ranks 12th, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. President Ronald Reagan's 1981 cut is the biggest, followed by the 1945 rollback of taxes that financed World War II.
Post-Reagan tax cuts also stand among the historically significant: President George W. Bush's cuts in the early 2000s and Obama's renewal of them a decade later.
Biden has pledged to raise taxes on wealthy people and not the middle class and working class.
Seitz reported from Chicago. Associated Press writers Matthew Daly and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, Woman in Red - The New York Times
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 12:51
Style | Kimberly Guilfoyle, Woman in RedCritic's Notebook
The Reagans' favorite color will never be the same after her speech at the Republican National Convention.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign fundraiser and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., wore the color seen throughout Day 1 of the Republican National Convention. Credit... Pool photo by Chip Somodevilla Aug. 25, 2020, 7:59 a.m. ET Red states. Reagan red. The red of President Trump's favorite ties. There's so much red in the recent mythology of the Republican Party, it's little wonder, really, that it was the predominant color worn by speakers on the opening day of the Republican National Convention.
It stood out on the stage flanked by the towering Doric columns of the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., where many of the speeches aired Monday night were recorded, even against the row of American flags. On Natalie Harp, as she told of surviving cancer and the ''right to try''; on Tanya Weinreis, the coffee shop owner whose business was one of the first to receive a Paycheck Protection Program grant in Montana; on the closing speaker, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. (Though not on Donald Trump Jr., who chose a silvery blue tie for his own excoriation of the rival party.)
Image Also in red: Tanya Weinreis, a Montana coffee shop owner. Credit... Republican National Convention, via Reuters But on no one did red stand out quite so much as it did on Kimberly Guilfoyle, senior fund-raising official for the Trump campaign, former Fox News host and Mr. Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, as she gave what was the perhaps the most '... fiery speech of the night.
''Very forceful speech, Jake, from Kimberly Guilfoyle,'' said Wolf Blitzer to Jake Tapper on CNN.
''Forceful is one word for it,'' responded Mr. Tapper, who looked somewhat taken aback.
Taking the stage in a flaming red sheath dress, Ms. Guilfoyle started loud and got louder, shouting into the void of an auditorium emptied in accordance with pandemic regulations. As her decibels rose (and rose; she spoke the way the president tweets), so did the urgency.
Image Red was a favorite of Nancy Reagan, the first lady from 1981 to 1989. Credit... Dirck Halstead/Liaison, via Getty Images ''They want to destroy this country and everything that we have fought for and hold dear,'' she cried of the Democrats. ''They want to steal your liberty, your freedom, they want to control what you see and think and believe so that they can control how you live.'' At the end she raised both her arms, in the classic pose of Eva Per"n as immortalized by ''Evita.''
Yikes! Well, they do say politics is a blood sport.
Image A red tie on Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina Credit... Pete Marovich for The New York Times Combined with her words, her red dress was like a beacon: the red of a stop sign, of alarm, of warning, of danger. The red that conveys a message understood widely even without words the world over. The red of ''seeing red'' fury and Mars, god of war.
The red that spawned an immediate host of associations in online viewers and related memes, with multiple comparisons to ''Game of Thrones,'' fire and brimstone and Rita Repulsa of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Also assorted other fantasy films.
And all that hi-octane red overshadowed the somewhat more diluted pink of Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina, which matched her more modulated tone and (slightly more modulated) message.
Image And in pink: Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the United Nations. Credit... Pete Marovich for The New York Times Of course, there is some irony in the fact that traditionally red is also associated with socialism, a label that several speakers, including Ms. Guilfoyle, attempted to paste on the Democrats as a scarlet S sign of shame.
And that the last celebrity to really make red a political statement was Jane Fonda during her #firedrillfridays, when her red coat became a symbol of protest in her drive to raise awareness around the climate crisis, which the Trump administration denies.
But then, this is a different show.
Updated Aug. 25, 2020
R.N.C. UpdatesPresident Trump and his party engaged in sweeping revisionism about his management of the coronavirus, his record on race relations and much else on the first night of the Republican National Convention.
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Kamala Harris will deliver counter to Trump's convention speech | TheHill
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:25
Sen. Kamala Harris Kamala HarrisGOP sticks to convention message amid uproar over Blake shooting Police group leader calls Biden-Harris 'most radical anti-police ticket in history' Latino Victory to boost Alex Padilla to fill Harris's potential Senate seat MORE (D-Calif.) will deliver a speech Thursday to counter President Trump Donald John TrumpThe Memo: Trump uses convention to target key states Conway hails Trump as 'champion' of women Former 'Celebrity Apprentice' star Trace Adkins sings at GOP convention MORE 's remarks at the Republican National Convention formally accepting the GOP presidential nomination.
Harris, the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee, will speak in Washington, D.C., ''on President Trump's failures to contain COVID-19 and protect working families from the economic fallout'' and the ''Biden-Harris plan to contain COVID-19 and build a different path forward in America,'' former Vice President Joe Biden Joe BidenThe Memo: Trump uses convention to target key states Pence condemns Kenosha violence, backs police in convention speech Biden praises Milwaukee Bucks response to Jacob Blake shooting MORE 's campaign said in a press release.
Trump is planning to give his speech Thursday from the White House lawn, and Harris's remarks will serve as the Democratic Party's main counter to his appearance.
Biden and Harris both railed against Trump's leadership at last week's Democratic National Convention, a message they're anticipated to continue heading into the fall.
''Donald Trump's failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,'' Harris said last week.
The Biden campaign is ramping up Harris's activities following what was a largely well-received address last week, scheduling her for three virtual fundraisers, online discussions and publishing an op-ed discussing women's right to vote.
Democrats are hopeful that Harris will be able to successfully make the case against a second term for Trump while also appealing to Black women and other voters of color. Trump and the GOP have pointed to progressive stances she took during her own presidential campaign to cast Biden as beholden to his party's left flank.
Trump calls for drug tests before Biden debate
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:27
| August 26, 2020 04:20 PM
President Trump says he will call for drug tests for both former Vice President Joe Biden and himself before the first candidates' debate on Sept. 29. In an Oval Office interview Wednesday, the president expressed suspicion at what he said was a sudden, marked improvement in Biden's debate performance during the Democratic primary season and suggested that he believes the improvement was the result of drugs. The president offered no evidence to support his speculation.
Biden took part in 11 debates during the primary season. Most were against a crowded field of candidates, but the final debate, on March 15, was just Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders. The president claimed to see a big difference between the last debate and those that came before.
"Nobody thought that he was even going to win," Trump said. "Because his debate performances were so bad. Frankly, his best performance was against Bernie. We're going to call for a drug test, by the way, because his best performance was against Bernie. It wasn't that he was Winston Churchill because he wasn't, but it was a normal, boring debate. You know, nothing amazing happened. And we are going to call for a drug test because there's no way '-- you can't do that."
Q: "What do you think was going on?"
"I don't know how he could have been so incompetent in his debate performances and then all of a sudden be OK against Bernie," Trump answered. "My point is, if you go back and watch some of those numerous debates, he was so bad. He wasn't even coherent. And against Bernie, he was. And we're calling for a drug test."
Q: "Is this like a prizefight, where beforehand you have a test?"
"Well, it is a prizefight," Trump answered. "It's no different from the gladiators, except we have to use our brain and our mouth. And our body to stand. I want all standing; they want to sit down."
Trump based his call entirely on his own observations and not on any actual knowledge of Biden's actions. "All I can tell you is that I'm pretty good at this stuff," he said. "I look. I watched him in the debates with all of the different people. He was close to incompetent, if not incompetent, and against Bernie, he was normal ... and I say, 'How does that happen?'"
The first Trump-Biden debate, to be held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, is little more than a month away. Trump gave no indication of when he would make his drug test request or to whom, but he appeared to know that there is little chance such a thing would happen. "I think it's appropriate," Trump said. "I don't know that they'll let me do it, but I think that they should do it."
"Go back and watch his performances in some of those debates," Trump continued. "He didn't know where he was. And all of a sudden, he was not good, he was normal, and I don't understand how. I don't know if there is or not, but somebody said to me, 'He must be on drugs.' I don't know if that's true or not, but I'm asking for a drug test. Both candidates. Me, too. I take an aspirin a day."
Trump made a similar call with Hillary Clinton in 2016 after their second debate. In October of that year, Trump said, "I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate. We should take a drug test prior because I don't know what's going on with her." There were no drug tests during those debates.
Now, there have been months of wrangling about debates. At first, employing a tactic often used by candidates who are trailing in the polls, Trump sought more debates than the three proposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The commission declined. Then, Trump asked that the first debate be held earlier than Sept. 29 in light of the beginning of early voting. The commission again declined. Now, both sides have committed to participating in the three debates as sponsored and scheduled by the commission. That is unlikely to change.
Let us Out!
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CDC was pressured 'from the top down' to change Covid-19 testing guidance, official says - CNNPolitics
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 19:59
By Nick Valencia, Sara Murray and Kristen Holmes, CNN
Updated 3:45 PM EDT, Wed August 26, 2020
(CNN) A sudden change in federal guidelines on coronavirus testing came this week as a result of pressure from the upper ranks of the Trump administration, a federal health official close to the process tells CNN.
"It's coming from the top down," the official said of the new directive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new guidelines raise the bar on who should get tested, advising that some people without symptoms probably don't need it -- even if they've been in close contact with an infected person.
Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic.
CDC would not comment on questions about its own policy change. A CDC spokesperson referred all questions to the Department of Health and Human Services.
In a statement to CNN, HHS Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir said: "This Guidance has been updated to reflect current evidence and best public health practices, and to further emphasize using CDC-approved prevention strategies to protect yourself, your family, and the most vulnerable of all ages."
HHS has not specified what change in "current evidence" may have driven the change. In a call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Giroir said the update to the CDC guidelines on testing was deliberated and approved last week.
"This was discussed at the last task force meeting and approved, I think that was Thursday of last week," Giroir told CNN's Jeremy Diamond on the call. "We posted this on Monday morning."
Yet Thursday was the same day Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the task force, was having vocal cord surgery to remove a polyp. He had general anesthesia and doctors advised him to curtail his talking for a while to allow his vocal cords to recover.
Giroir said in the call that the updated CDC guidelines were written by multiple authors, adding that he, Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, worked on the updated guidelines.
Giroir said the focus was to do more "appropriate" testing, not "less" testing, and said, "it cannot be interpreted that we are inhibiting local public health."
But the new directive also lines up with a trend in policy and rhetoric from the White House. President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested the US should do less testing.
Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease specialist and associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine, said on CNN Newsroom on Wednesday that the CDC has not provided evidence to explain the changes.
"I mean, the evidence that I'm aware of as of today is that close to 40% of the cases of the infections are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people transmit the infection," Del Rio said.
"So, not testing -- I mean, if you have been in contact with somebody for a few minutes, that's okay. But if you have been in contact for 50 minutes and that people doesn't have a mask, I think you need to be tested regardless if you have symptoms or not. We know especially young people going into the house and then transmit inside the household. So, the guidelines baffle me and I really don't understand them."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accused the Trump administration of using the CDC as a political tool for the campaign.
"The only plausible rationale is they want fewer people taking tests because, as the president has said, if we don't take tests you won't know that people are covid positive and the number of covid positive people will come down," Cuomo told reporters Wednesday. "It fosters his failed policy of denial," he said of the President.
CNN's Betsy Klein, Kristina Sgueglia, Andrea Diaz and Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.
Santa Clara County health director blasts CDC COVID testing guideline changes
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:06
Santa Clara County health leaders on Wednesday blasted recent changes to the CDC's coronavirus guidelines that relaxed testing recommendations for asymptomatic individuals in a press conference.
The changes, which appeared Monday on the CDC's website, say that people who've been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient but are asymptomatic ''do not necessarily need a test,'' unless they are a ''vulnerable individual'' or are recommended to take one by healthcare providers or public health officials.
''I actually didn't believe it, for it seemed entirely bizarre,'' said Santa Clara County public health director Dr. Sara Cody. ''The truth is that if you've been in contact with someone who is infected with COVID, you absolutely need to get a test.''
The Santa Clara County Department of Public Health's testing page says that anyone who has been exposed to a COVID-19 patient, regardless of whether they have symptoms, should get tested immediately. The CDC's own page for COVID-19 planning scenarios estimates for the purposes of public health planning that 40% of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic.
Video: Medical correspondent calls new CDC guidelines 'ridiculous'
Cody also criticized the revised guidelines for saying that people with mild symptoms ''may wish to get a test and a test may be offered,'' appearing to refer to a revision on the CDC website that says tests ''may'' be advised for people exhibiting mild COVID-19 symptoms.
''Our local guidance and our order is quite clear, that anyone with any symptoms of COVID should be tested right away,'' she said.
Cody's concerns echoed those raised by politicians and medical experts across the country, who said that the recommendation to not test asymptomatic individuals was unscientific and could skew data on infection rates. California Governor Gavin Newsom and New York's Andrew Cuomo have both said their states will not be following the updated federal guidelines.
''I agree with Dr. Cody 100%,'' said Steven Goodman, a professor of epidemiology at Stanford. ''I've been concerned about some CDC actions previously but this is the first recommendation they've made that's actually gotten me angry.''
Goodman said the guidelines would lead directly to more serious cases and more deaths if followed and noted that the CDC hasn't given an explanation for the changes. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in an email to the Associated Press that the changes were informed by ''current evidence and the best public health interventions.''
President Trump has said on numerous occasions that expanded testing '-- seen by many public-health officials as the key to controlling the virus '-- hurts him politically by showing higher case numbers.
''I believe that these changes in the guidance have come from further up the chain and the federal government, from the White House,'' Marty Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County's COVID-19 testing officer, said at Wednesday's conference. ''They're totally misdirected. Failing to test is not going to end this pandemic. Failing to test will not make the virus go away.''
Testing capacity in Santa Clara County is not an issue, according to Fenstersheib. He said at Wednesday's conference that the county had done a ''tremendous job'' increasing testing capacity and that they were now conducting upwards of 6,000-8,000 tests a day.
''We have plenty of testing sites on our website, the fairgrounds have recently been open, we have the capacity of testing over 1000 there a day, so people, please take advantage of the testing in this community,'' he said.
Cody and Fenstersheib said that Santa Clara County would not be changing any of its guidelines on coronavirus testing.
''We are going to continue to work with all of our healthcare partners to ensure that they offer testing to the groups that need it,'' Cody said. ''And we'... are going to continue to offer mass testing at several sites as often and as robustly as we can, for as long as it takes.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
View more onThe Mercury News
Overview of Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) | CDC
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:05
Note: This document is intended to provide guidance on the appropriate use of testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and does not address decisions regarding payment for or insurance coverage of such testing.
Revisions made on August 24, 2020
Diagnostic testing categories have been edited to focus on testing considerations and actions to be taken by individuals undergoing testingRevisions made on July 17, 2020
Except for rare situations, a test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when an individual with a COVID-19 infection is no longer infectious (i.e., to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions or home isolation)Revisions made on July 2, 2020
Added screening to possible testing typesRemoved examples '' please refer to setting specific guidanceThis document provides a summary of considerations and current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations regarding COVID-19 testing strategies. The CDC recommendations for COVID-19 testing have been developed based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and are subject to change as additional information becomes available.
Viral TestingAuthorized assays for viral testing include those that detect COVID-19 nucleic acid or antigen. Viral (nucleic acid or antigen) tests check samples from the respiratory system (such as nasal or oral swabs) or saliva to determine whether COVID-19 is present. Viral tests are recommended to diagnose infection. Some tests are point-of-care tests, often used in emergency rooms, doctor's offices, and outpatient clinics. These tests can produce results at the testing site in less than an hour. Other tests must be performed in a laboratory. If there is not a Point-of-Care (POC) device or laboratory at the collection point, samples must be sent (deliver or shipped) to a laboratory for analysis, a process that can take at least 1-2 days.
For more information on testing for COVID-19 see the Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens and Biosafety FAQs for handling and processing specimens from possible cases.
Antibody TestingThe Food and Drug Administration has not authorized antibody testing to diagnose COVID-19, and the CDC does not currently recommend using antibody testing for diagnosis of any infection. In certain situations, antibody tests may be used in conjunction with viral detection tests to support clinical assessment of persons who present late in their illnesses. In addition, if a person is suspected of having a post-infectious syndrome caused by COVID-19 (e.g., Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children; MIS-C), antibody tests may be used to determine prior infection. Antibody tests for COVID-19 can play an important role in surveillance and epidemiologic studies, which can provide insights into the transmission dynamic of the virus among the general population. Unlike direct viral detection methods that can detect currently infected persons, antibody tests help determine whether the individual being tested was previously infected, even if that person never showed symptoms.
CDC Mitigation ProtocolsCDC recommends the following measures to mitigate the spread of the virus and to protect vulnerable populations: social distancing, wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible, avoiding crowds, avoiding indoor crowded spaces, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently. Visit cdc.gov/coronavirus for more information.
Considerations for COVID-19 Diagnostic (Molecular or Antigen) TestingIf you have symptoms of COVID-19:If your symptoms are mild:Your health care provider (physician, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, etc.) may advise a COVID-19 test.If you test positive for COVID-19 or do not get tested, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days after symptom onset and at least 24 hours after the resolution of any fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications).You should strictly adhere to CDC mitigation protocols in circumstances in which you cannot self-isolate, especially if you are interacting with a vulnerable individual (for example an elderly person or an individual with an underlying health condition). You should adhere to CDC guidelines to protect vulnerable individuals with whom you live.If you live with a vulnerable individual, they should be tested.If your symptoms are severe or become severe, you should contact your health care provider immediately or seek emergency care.If you take a test and test positive, you do not need to repeat a test. Unless your illness required hospitalization, you can return to normal activities (e.g., work or school) after the passage of 10 days from the onset of symptoms and 24 hours from when any fever has subsided on its own (without the aid of any fever-reducing medications).If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms:You do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.A negative test does not mean you will not develop an infection from the close contact or contract an infection at a later time.You should monitor yourself for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, you should evaluate yourself under the considerations set forth above.You should strictly adhere to CDC mitigation protocols, especially if you are interacting with a vulnerable individual. You should adhere to CDC guidelines to protect vulnerable individuals with whom you live.If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and have not been in close contact with someone known to have a COVID-19 infection:You do not need a test.A negative test does not mean you will not contract an infection at a later time.If you decide to be tested, you should self-isolate at home until your test results are known, and then adhere to your health care provider's advice. This does not apply to routine screening or surveillance testing at work, school, or similar situations.If you are in a high COVID-19 transmission area and have attended a public or private gathering of more than 10 people (without widespread mask wearing or physical distancing): You do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.A negative test does not mean you will not develop an infection from the gathering or contract an infection at a later time.You should monitor yourself for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, you should evaluate yourself under the considerations set forth above.You should strictly adhere to CDC mitigation protocols, especially if you are interacting with a vulnerable individual. You should adhere to CDC guidelines to protect vulnerable individuals with whom you live.If you are tested, you should self-isolate at home until your test results are known, and then adhere to your health care provider's advice.If you work in a nursing home or a long-term care facility:You will need to be tested, unless you have already been tested as part of your facility's operational plans.You need to be tested if you are symptomatic. You must not go to work until your test results are known. If you test positive, unless your illness required hospitalization, you can return to work after the passage of 10 days from the onset of symptoms and 24 hours from when any fever has subsided on its own (without the aid of any fever-reducing medications).You will need testing if there is an outbreak in your facility (i.e., a new COVID-19 infection in any staff or any nursing home-onset of COVID-19 in a resident), and you will need to be tested at regular intervals until the outbreak has been mitigated.The higher the incidence rate in the county in which you live or work, the more frequently you will need to be tested.Results of testing will be used to inform infection control interventions at your facility, including decisions regarding resident placement and work exclusions.Follow any additional guidance from State and local public health officials and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).If you live in or receive care in a nursing home or a long-term care facility:You will need to be tested, unless you have already been tested as part of your facility's operational plans.You need to be tested if you are symptomatic. You must self-isolate until your test results are known. If you test positive, unless your illness required hospitalization, you can return to normal activities after the passage of 10 days from the onset of symptoms and 24 hours from when any fever has subsided on its own (without the aid of any fever-reducing medications).You will need testing if there is an outbreak in your facility and you will need to be tested at regular intervals until the outbreak has been mitigated.You will need to be tested more frequently if you leave the facility on a regular basis (e.g. for dialysis or frequent medical/other appointments).Results of testing will be used to inform infection control interventions at your facility, including decisions regarding resident and patient placement.Follow any additional guidance from State and local public health officials and the CMS.If you are a critical infrastructure worker, health care worker, or first responder: You may need to get a test, according to your employer's guidelines.Even if you have a negative test, you should, at all times, take special care to monitor yourself for symptoms and strictly adhere to CDC mitigation protocols.State and local public health officials may advise specific people, or groups of people, to be tested. You should follow this advice. It is important to realize that you can be infected and spread the virus but feel well and have no symptoms.In areas where there are limited number of new cases, State or local public health officials may request to test a small number of asymptomatic ''healthy people,'' particularly from vulnerable populations.If there is significant spread of the virus in your community, State or local public health officials may request to test more asymptomatic ''healthy people,'' particularly from vulnerable populations.For example, certain settings can experience rapid spread of COVID-19. This is particularly true for settings with vulnerable populations in close quarters for extended periods of time (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities).As discussed above, those responsible for managing infection in such settings should adopt measures to facilitate the early identification of infected individuals, including initial testing of everyone in the setting, periodic (e.g., weekly) testing of everyone in the setting, and testing of new or returning entrants into the setting.
Coronavirus update: Health experts express alarm at CDC change in testing guidelines that exclude asymptomatic patients - MarketWatch
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:13
Health experts expressed alarm Wednesday at news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had changed its guidance on testing for COVID-19 and will no longer recommend a test for people who show no symptoms.
As asymptomatic carriers are a key reason for the spread of the virus, the news was widely criticized on social media and elsewhere.
''You do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health-care provider or state or local public health officials recommend you take one,'' the CDC said.
That marks a change from previous guidance that people who had spent more than 15 minutes with an individual who had tested positive for the virus should also get tested, regardless of the presentation of symptoms. The U.S. has conducted more than 73 million tests this year, and about 6 million of them have come back positive, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Coming just days after the head of the Food and Drug Administration, Stephen Hahn, was forced to acknowledge that a comment he made Sunday about the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients was inaccurate, the news is a second blow this week to the credibility of a leading U.S. public health agency.
''Our work on the 'silent' spread underscores the importance of testing people who have been exposed to COVID-19 regardless of symptoms,'' Alison Galvani, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis, tweeted. ''This change in policy will kill.''
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the move was political, ''not science.''
It is estimated that up to 40% of people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning they do not demonstrate common symptoms of an infection like coughing or muscle aches, according to one research letter published in May in JAMA Network.
The news also comes after the U.S. counted 38,200 new cases on Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, up a few hundred from Monday though better than last week when cases were above 40,000 most days.
In all, 5.79 million people in the U.S. have been infected, or roughly a quarter of the global total, according to the Johns Hopkins data. There have been more than 179,000 deaths in the U.S., by far the highest in the world. On a per capita basis, the U.S. currently ranks fifth in the world with 54.55 deaths per 100,000 people, after Peru, Spain, Chile and Brazil.
Rural Illinois is emerging as something of a hot spot with cases up 14% from the average of two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker. Illinois counted 1,756 new cases on Tuesday and 32 new deaths. The state has had at least 225,812 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 8,155 deaths since the start of the outbreak.
In other news:
' The Trump administration has threatened to cut Medicare and Medicaid funding to hospitals if they do not report COVID-19 patient data and rest results to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Associated Press reported. The threat was included in new emergency rules announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The program has been voluntary until now. The new rules also apply to nursing homes.
The American Hospital Association called the new rules a ''heavy-handed regulatory approach'' and complained that it was not consulted.
''This disturbing move, announced in final form without consultation, or the opportunity to provide feedback through appropriate administrative procedures prior to it becoming effective, could jeopardize access to care and leave patients and communities without vital health services from their local hospital during a pandemic,'' Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the association, said in a statement. The rule ''should be reversed immediately,'' he said.
See:WHO says plasma treatment touted as breakthrough by Trump is unproven, advises caution
' In a sign of just how far and wide COVID-19 can spread without containment measures, an international meeting held by Biogen Inc. BIIB, +0.05% in February led to about 20,000 cases in four counties in Massachusetts by early May, way more than the 99 previously identified, the Boston Globe reported, citing three scientists involved in a new study.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, was backed by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the CDC and private donors including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
''Our results highlight the failure of measures to prevent importation into [Massachusetts] early in the outbreak, underscore the role of superspreading in amplifying an outbreak in a major urban area, and lay a foundation for contact tracing informed by genetic data,'' the authors wrote.
' There are growing concern that Lebanon could lose control of the virus, after a spike in cases following the massive explosion in capital Beirut on Aug. 4, the Guardian reported.
The country's interim prime minister, Hassan Diab, said the number of new infections is climbing fast, ''and if this continues, we will lose control of this epidemic,'' he said, according to a statement issued by the supreme defense council.
Lebanon counted 525 new cases on Tuesday and 12 deaths, the paper said. Cases doubled in the two weeks after the explosion, which left many people homeless and damaged hospitals.
' Germany recorded 1,576 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, up from 1,278 on Monday, according to Der Spiegel, citing data from the Robert Koch Institute. That comes after more than 2,000 cases were reported on Saturday, the first time Germany has exceeded that number in a single day since late April.
' U.S. universities are still seeing rising numbers of new cases as students return to dorm rooms and college bars, even though many have not yet returned to classes. At least seven universities, mostly in the South, have counted at least 500 cases, according to a New York Times survey, while another 30 have at least 200 confirmed cases. In all, there have been 26,000 confirmed cases at 750 colleges, the survey found.
College Town Economies Brace for Covid Blow Latest talliesThe global tally for confirmed cases of COVID-19 edged closer to 24 million on Wednesday, with the death toll rising to 819,945, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. At least 15.6 million people are confirmed to have recovered.
Brazil is second to the U.S. with 3.7 million cases and 116,580 deaths. India is third measured by cases at 3.2 million, followed by Russia with 968,297 and South Africa with 613,017.
Mexico has 568,621 cases and 61,450 deaths, the third highest in the world.
See also:Google searches for 'panic attack,' 'anxiety attack' hit all-time high during coronavirus pandemic
India now has 59,459 deaths, putting it ahead of the U.K. That country has 329,869 cases and 41,535 fatalities, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.
China, where the illness was first reported late last year, has 89,752 cases, and 4,712 fatalities.
What's the economy saying?Orders for durable goods lasting at least three years surged 11.2% in July, largely because of strong consumer demand for new cars and trucks, but business spending outside the automobile industry was softer, and investment grew more slowly, MarketWatch's Jeffry Bartash reported.
The increase in orders last month '-- the third in a row '-- easily topped the 4.8% forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch.
Demand for industrial goods was less robust if automobiles and airplanes are excluded. New orders rose a smaller 2.4% minus transportation.
See also: Stocks will head higher until there's a reason, besides COVID-19, to stop, one analyst says
Car sales have been surprisingly strong during the summer as Americans took advantage of low interest rates and discounted pricing. Bookings in July were actually higher last month compared with July 2019.
Orders are likely to moderate soon now that plants have reopened and automobile manufacturers are operating closer to normal capacity. Sales to corporate customers are still depressed, and demand usually wanes in the fall.
Airline orders only declined half as much in July as they did in June, the government said, reflecting fewer cancellations. That also contributed to the better-than-expected increase in industrial orders last month.
A key measure of business investment, known as core orders, edged up 1.9% last month and has returned close to pre-crisis levels. These exclude defense and transportation orders.
Business investment was already weak before the pandemic, however, and is unlikely to regain full strength until the virus is brought under control at home and abroad. The disease has wreaked havoc on the global trading system and forced businesses to preserve cash in case the economy worsens.
''U.S. durable-goods orders made more progress toward recovering in July despite the resurgence in the virus,'' said economist Katherine Judge of CIBC Economics, but ''we continue to see the recovery in business investment from here as occurring relatively slowly given the prevalence of spare capacity.''
See now: MarketWatch Coronavirus Recovery Tracker
What are companies saying?' Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.'s BBBY, -1.13% planned reorganization to focus on online sales will result in 2,800 job cuts from corporate headquarters and retail stores, effective immediately. The cuts are designed to strip away management layers and ''significantly reposition field operations to better serve customers in a digital-first shopping environment,'' the company said. The reorganization will result in about $150 million in annual pretax cost savings, Bed Bath & Beyond said. The company is taking steps to improve its shopping experience in store and online, building on the recent introduction of its buy online, pick up in store option and curbside pickups in addition to plans to launch ''an array of new customer-inspired owned brands in 2021,'' it said. ''Saying goodbye to colleagues and friends is incredibly difficult, but this component of our comprehensive restructuring program is critical to rebuild the foundation of our business, construct a modern, balanced and durable business model, and meet the structural shift in customer shopping and service preferences that we have seen accelerate as a result of COVID-19,'' Chief Executive Mark Tritton said in a statement.
' Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. DKS, +15.68% reported second-quarter earnings and sales that blew past expectations, as shoppers returned to stores as they reopened during the pandemic. Same-store sales rose 20.7%, beating the FactSet consensus for a 10.5% increase. E-commerce sales increased 194%. The company ended the quarter with $1.1 billion in cash and equivalents and no outstanding borrowings after repaying $1.4 billion from its $1.855 billion revolving credit facility. Dick's Sporting Goods recently extended its 15% pay premium to workers through the end of the year. The retailer did not provide financial guidance due to the uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic. Through the first three weeks of the third quarter, same-store sales increased 11%.
' Nordstrom Inc. JWN, -5.47% reported second-quarter sales that missed Wall Street expectations as losses have widened during the pandemic. Nordstrom's e-commerce business ''continued to experience significant growth'' in new customers of more than 50%, the retailer said. Operating cash flow of more than $185 million was above company expectations and allowed Nordstrom to pay down $300 million on its revolving line of credit, the company said. Nordstrom ended the second quarter with $1.3 billion in liquidity, including $1 billion in cash. ''We're confident that we can improve sales trends in the second half of the year and beyond,'' President Pete Nordstrom said in a statement. ''Our inventories are current and in-line, and we're focused on amplifying relevant categories, brands and trends to meet customers' changing preferences.''
' Urban Outfitters Inc. URBN, +21.39% swung to a surprise second-quarter profit, and sales beat Wall Street expectations thanks to online sales. Same-store sales decreased 13%, with the drop for bricks-and-mortar stores, closed for part of the quarter due to the pandemic, offset by online sales. ''I'm pleased to announce [Urban] produced solid revenues and profits for the second quarter driven by strength in the digital channel,'' Chief Executive Richard A. Hayne said in a statement. ''Notably, all brands were profitable and enter the fall selling season with lean inventories and positive momentum.'' Besides the namesake stores, other Urban Outfitters brands include Free People and Anthropologie.
BOMBSHELL: WHO Coronavirus PCR Test Primer Sequence is Found in All Human DNA |
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:53
BOMBSHELL: WHO Coronavirus PCR Test Primer Sequence is Found in All Human DNA Fri 12:03 pm +00:00, 21 Aug 2020 2 posted by Weaver
This was important enough that I wanted to get it out immediately. My research into the NCBI database for nucleotide sequences has lead to a stunning discovery. One of the WHO primer sequences in the PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 is found in all human DNA!
The sequence ''CTCCCTTTGTTGTGTTGT'' is an 18-character primer sequence found in the WHO coronavirus PCR testing protocol document. The primer sequences are what get amplified by the PCR process in order to be detected and designated a ''positive'' test result. It just so happens this exact same 18-character sequence, verbatim, is also found on Homo sapiens chromosome 8! As far as I can tell, this means that the WHO test kits should find a positive result in all humans. Can anyone explain this otherwise?
I really cannot overstate the significance of this finding. At minimum, it should have a notable impact on test results.
Homo sapiens chromosome 8, GRCh38.p12 Primary Assembly Sequence ID: NC_000008.11 Length: 145138636 Range 1: 63648346 to 63648363 is ''CTCCCTTTGTTGTGTTGT''
Update: After some effort, I have finally discovered a way to display proof (beyond my screenshots) that human chromosome 8 has this exact same 18-character sequence. Please try the link below. The sequence is shown at the bottom of the page.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nucleotide/NC_000008.11?report=genbank&log$=nuclalign&from=63648346&to=63648363
YumNaturals Emporium '' Aug 20, 2020 Posted in Coronavirus, Feature Posts, Health | Leave a response
BOMBSHELL: WHO Coronavirus PCR Test Primer Sequence is Found in All Human DNA
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MPS on Twitter: "1/5 This @nytimes article by @paulmozur is a smoking gun on the genesis of the coronavirus lockdowns. According to the article, the CCP launched a massive social media campaign in ITALY to advertise its coronavirus lockdown measures in ea
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 00:25
MPS : 1/5 This @nytimes article by @paulmozur is a smoking gun on the genesis of the coronavirus lockdowns.According t'... https://t.co/1t6JAzkRYY
Thu Jun 11 03:48:15 +0000 2020
Behind China's Twitter Campaign, a Murky Supporting Chorus - The New York Times
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 00:25
Swarms of accounts are amplifying Beijing's brash new messaging as the country tries to shape the global narrative about the coronavirus and much else.
Credit... Yifan Wu Published June 8, 2020Updated June 10, 2020
As the Trump administration lashes out at China over a range of grievances, Beijing's top diplomats and representatives are using the president's favorite online megaphone '-- Twitter '-- to slap back with a pugnaciousness that is best described as Trumpian.
Behind China's combative new messengers, a murky hallelujah chorus of sympathetic accounts has emerged to repost them and cheer them on. Many are new to the platform. Some do little else but amplify the Beijing line.
No doubt some of these accounts are run by patriotic, tech-savvy Chinese people who get around their government's ban on Twitter and other Western platforms. But an analysis by The New York Times found that many of the accounts behaved with a single-mindedness that could suggest a coordinated campaign of the type that nation states have carried out on Twitter in the past.
Of the roughly 4,600 accounts that reposted China's leading envoys and state-run news outlets during a recent week, many acted suspiciously, The Times found. One in six tweeted with extremely high frequency despite having few followers, as if they were being used as loudspeakers, not as sharing platforms.
Nearly one in seven tweeted almost nothing of their own, instead filling their feeds with reposts of the official Chinese accounts and others.
In all, one third of the accounts had been created in the last three months, as the war of words with the Trump administration heated up. One in seven had zero followers.
The United States and China are battling to dominate the global narrative. China was criticized for its early mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak, but it has regained confidence as other countries have made their own stumbles. With the United States in turmoil, upended first by the epidemic and now by protests, Beijing sees a chance to define itself as a global leader, one unafraid to press its interests in Hong Kong and the region.
Image China was criticized for its early cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak, but it has regained confidence as other countries have made their own stumbles. Credit... Getty Images It is far from clear that the Chinese government is behind the swarms of accounts helping to spread its gospel on Twitter. Online information campaigns are becoming increasingly sophisticated as malicious actors get better at disguising their digital activity, security experts say. They now rarely make telltale mistakes such as using social media accounts that were all created on the same day, follow one another and post the same material.
Campaigns are often uncovered one small piece at a time. Twitter has declared operations to be state-backed after identifying as few as six accounts.
Much is unknown about China's covert influence activities in particular. Twitter last year suspended more than 200,000 accounts that it called a Chinese state-backed operation aimed at discrediting Hong Kong's protesters, though it said little about how it came to that conclusion.
Still, The Times's findings add to other recent evidence suggesting that Twitter is being manipulated to amplify pro-Beijing messages. Next Dim, a data firm in Israel, discovered two mundane-looking tweets praising China's coronavirus response that were liked and reposted hundreds of thousands of times in March, possibly with the help of strategically placed influencer accounts.
The U.S. State Department found inauthentic-seeming accounts that in April cited a Cambridge University study to raise doubts that the coronavirus originated in China. The most active of these accounts referred to the study in scores of tweets, even though the study's lead author dismissed that interpretation of its findings.
Neither Next Dim's findings nor the State Department's have been previously reported.
''Improving the health of the public conversation is a priority for our company,'' Twitter said in a statement. ''Platform manipulation, including spam and other attempts to undermine the public conversation, is a violation of the Twitter Rules.''
The State Department has denounced China's efforts to burnish its image and drown out criticism during the pandemic, comparing them to Russia's disinformation campaigns. Both countries are using a range of tools to ''shape and tilt any given information environment in their favor,'' said Lea Gabrielle, coordinator of the department's Global Engagement Center.
''I think the Chinese Communist Party is still trying to define its relationship with Twitter,'' said Kristine Lee, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security. ''But the Covid-19 pandemic has served as an important period of experimentation.''
The U.S.-China tongue-lashing adds to the questions vexing Twitter about how it treats inflammatory or misleading remarks from world leaders. Mr. Trump has accused the company of censoring him and other Republicans while ignoring questionable posts by Democrats and the Chinese government.
Beijing's Twitter brigade includes Hua Chunying, the head of the foreign ministry's information department. Since joining the platform in October, Ms. Hua has attracted more than half a million followers with her feisty put-downs of the United States.
In a Communist Party journal last year, Ms. Hua wrote that China had to find a voice in international affairs that was commensurate with its economic strength. ''We have walked closer to the center of the world stage than ever before, but we still do not grasp the microphone completely in our hands,'' she wrote.
One reason, she wrote: a lack of ''fighting spirit.''
Another foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, became notorious after tweeting that the U.S. military might have brought the coronavirus to China. Twitter later added a fact-checking label to Mr. Zhao's post.
The Times analyzed all of the tweets that Ms. Hua, Mr. Zhao and 12 other Twitter users linked to the Chinese government posted between May 18 and May 25.
The other users included the foreign ministry's main account, as well as the accounts of China's ambassadors to the United States and Britain. They also included nine accounts run by state news outlets.
That week, Beijing moved to tighten its control over Hong Kong. Mr. Trump threatened to cut off funding to the World Health Organization. American officials congratulated Taiwan's president on the start of her second term. China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, was furious.
Ms. Hua mused about whether the coronavirus actually originated in the United States: ''Scientists at the US NIH began developing a #COVID19 vaccine on January 11. There were reports of cases as early as November last year. Any explanation or investigation?'' Her post, which refers to the National Institutes of Health, was liked 4,600 times.
The Times's analysis found that hundreds of the 4,600 accounts that reposted the Chinese government mouthpieces that week behaved suspiciously. Many were incessant tweeters despite having limited followings. After excluding accounts that had zero followers and had tweeted five times or fewer, over a sixth of the accounts had posted 100 or more times for every follower.
A few accounts repeatedly retweeted at set lengths of time after the original post '-- 9 hours and 49 minutes after, 19 hours and 34 minutes after '-- suggesting that software had been used to schedule their tweets. Twitter has since suspended some of the accounts for violating its policies.
When contacted by The Times, several pro-China Twitter users denied being part of a government campaign but acknowledged that they joined the platform specifically to follow the foreign ministry representatives. The ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Image Zhao Lijian, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, has gained notoriety for his pugnacious tweets. Credit... Wu Hong/EPA, via Shutterstock Others said they were either curious about Mr. Trump's tweets about China or felt demonized by them.
''He has done so many shameless things for re-election,'' one user, @beautifullady76, said in a Twitter message. ''Countless Chinese people are angry and everyone has the right to the truth. We just want to say a fair word for China!''
Public records show that Beijing is trying to expand its influence on the Western internet. China's internet regulator has sought out contractors to help it ''make use of overseas social media platforms to develop online propaganda on major themes,'' procurement documents show.
Much of this kind of activity may not appear in official documents, however. The regulator did not respond to a request for comment.
''There's no reason to think that the parts of the Chinese government that are formally in charge of conducting information operations are not able to conduct operations that are as sophisticated as others','' said Camille Fran§ois of the network analysis company Graphika. ''They just haven't been publicly exposed and dissected yet.''
Researchers remain on the lookout. ProPublica tracked 10,000 fishy accounts that posted about the coronavirus and the Hong Kong protests. Alkemy, an Italian digital marketing firm, found that inauthentic-looking users were behind many posts celebrating Chinese medical aid to Italy.
In March, two tweets lauding China's handling of the outbreak were liked and reposted hundreds of thousands of times. The posts were not shocking, funny or newsworthy, and originated from users with modest followings.
That caught the attention of Next Dim, an Israeli company that uses network analytics to identify and prevent financial crime.
''While scanning Twitter, our systems automatically discovered a huge irregularity,'' said Next Dim's chief executive, Netta Marrom. Too huge, he believes, to be the result of chance.
On March 12, the first user, @manisha_kataki, posted a video showing workers disinfecting streets in China. ''At this rate, China will be back in action very soon, may be much faster than the world expects,'' the user wrote.
The next day, another user, @Ejiketion, retweeted the post, marveling at how China had locked down cities and built coronavirus hospitals. In the West, by contrast, ''We washing our hands LOL,'' @Ejiketion wrote. The account has since been deleted.
The two posts together received more than 382,000 retweets and 1.1 million likes, many of them within the first two days. That made them roughly as popular as Elon Musk's tweet, also from March, in which the head of Tesla called the coronavirus panic ''dumb.''
Two other posts that also retweeted @manisha_kataki but translated @Ejiketion's comment into Spanish and French received a combined 67,000 retweets and 181,000 likes.
Next Dim identified around 20 Twitter users whose followers accounted for thousands of the retweets of @manisha_kataki's and @Ejiketion's posts. Some of these users had immense followings but rarely tweeted about China.
Image Tiananmen Square in Beijing during the annual meeting of China's legislature last month. Credit... Roman Pilipey/EPA, via Shutterstock Next Dim's analysis uncovered other signs that the two tweets' popularity may not have been organic. Few of the first users to retweet @manisha_kataki's post were followers of the account, which means they were unlikely to have seen the tweet in their timelines. Thousands of accounts reposted both tweets, even though @Ejiketion's tweet was itself a repost of @manisha_kataki's.
Neither @manisha_kataki nor @Ejiketion responded to requests for comment.
Wang Yiwei and Lin Qiqing contributed research.
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Coronavirus stimulus update: GOP to propose smaller relief bill
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:10
Published Wed, Aug 26 2020 4:34 PM EDT
Updated Wed, Aug 26 2020 6:48 PM EDT
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Republicans are considering a more narrow coronavirus relief bill as aid talks between the Trump administration and Democrats are at a deadlock, sources told CNBC. The roughly $500 billion proposal would include enhanced unemployment benefits, an authorization for more small business loans, and funding for schools, treatment and vaccines, but not direct payments to Americans. The bill is unlikely to become law, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pushed for at least $2 trillion in aid. Republicans are working on a more narrow coronavirus stimulus bill that they could release to members of Congress as soon as this week, two senior administration officials and three people briefed on the matter told CNBC.
The GOP is mulling a roughly $500 billion proposal that addresses only areas of bipartisan support: expanded unemployment insurance, a new authorization of small business loans, and money for schools and Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. The plan would not include another direct payment to Americans.
It would set enhanced jobless benefits at roughly $300 to $400 per week. The figure would be less than the $600 per week approved in March, which Democrats want to reinstate after it expired at the end of July.
While Republicans appear intent on putting more pressure on Democrats, the legislation is unlikely to become law. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., still does not plan to restart stalled pandemic aid talks with the White House until the GOP agrees to double the price tag of its existing, roughly $1 trillion proposal, her spokesman Drew Hammill said Wednesday.
"Democrats have compromised in these negotiations. We offered to come down $1 trillion if the White House would come up $1 trillion. We welcome the White House back to the negotiating table but they must meet us halfway," he said.
Earlier, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told Politico that he had his staff "reach out" to Pelosi's office on Tuesday. Hammill said a Meadows aide did not mention the prospect of resuming negotiations.
Meadows said he expects Pelosi to hold out until the end of September, when Congress faces a deadline to avoid a government shutdown, to try to get her desired relief provisions in a bill.
Congress has failed to pass legislation to respond to overlapping health and economic crises even after financial lifelines for Americans expired. A $600-per-week extra jobless benefit, a federal moratorium on evictions and the window to apply for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans have all lapsed.
While new coronavirus infections in the U.S. have slowed, the country is still typically reporting tens of thousands of cases per day during a sprint to create more effective Covid-19 treatment and a vaccine. Despite three months of rapid employment gains on the heels of historic job losses, the U.S. unemployment rate still topped 10% in July.
Sticking points between the Trump administration and Democrats include how much aid to send to state and local governments, how much money to send schools adjusting to either physical reopening during the pandemic or remote learning and whether to maintain the $600 weekly unemployment payments.
President Donald Trump took executive action this month to allow states to temporarily extend extra jobless benefits of at least $300 per week. Most states have opted into the program, but the funding redirected from the executive branch is only expected to last a few weeks.
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Austin-Based Brewery Prints Gov. Abbott's Office Phone Number on Cans: 'Call Him Up!'
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:11
Instagram / infamousbrewing
Austin's Infamous Brewing Company is using its cans as a weapon to ratchet up pressure on Gov. Greg Abbott to let breweries and wineries operate their tasting rooms during the pandemic.
The brewery printed Abbott's office phone number on the bottom of the latest run of its Bugsy's Amber Ale and is asking customers to call the governor to ask that breweries be exempted from the order that closed Texas bars.
''I've been in contact with other brewers, and we've all called and emailed. '... We've done everything we can, but the people Abbott hasn't heard from are the consumers,'' Josh Horowitz, Infamous' "ring leader" told the
Current. ''We always put some dumb-ass saying on the bottom of the can, so yesterday I said, 'Why don't we put Gov. Abbott's hotline number on bottom for this run?'''
The team at Infamous banded together with other Texas breweries to demand new rules that would include separate guidelines for breweries and wineries '-- rather than hold them to the rules created to regulate 51% establishments that sell hard liquor.
''Typically, a bar is a place that buys all of their goods from a distributor,'' Horowitz said. ''I'm not buying my beer and reselling it. I'm making all of this beer here. To be stopped in my tracks because we're a 51% establishment, it makes no sense.''
Although the Infamous taproom reopened this week under new guidelines provided by the TABC, it had been shuttered for months due to Abbott's order.
"No matter what changes they make to the rules at this stage in the game, we'll continue this campaign to change the classification of what a brewery or winery is versus what a bar is," Horowitz said. "We've been doing it right and making sure everyone is safe. There's no reason we shouldn't have been open.''
So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.
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Socially distanced bear hunt to begin in a week in Maine | Boston.com
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:39
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) '-- Maine's annual bear hunt will look slightly different when it begins in a week.
The hunt begins on Aug. 31. The state is continuing to recommend that hunters observe social distancing practices in the woods.
Maine wildlife officials have asked hunters to follow social distancing protocols since the spring turkey hunt. The falls hunts, including the bear hunt, are some of the most popular in the state.
The hunts for deer and moose are also coming up this fall. The administration of Gov. Janet Mills has encouraged people to participate in outdoor activities such as hunting as long as they can practice social distancing while doing so.
The bear hunt usually attracts hunters from out of state, and they will be expected to comply with the Maine lodging guidelines that apply to everyone, Gov. Janet Mills said. The state requires a negative coronavirus test or a two week quarantine period for visitors from states other than New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.
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Why it's so hard to find dumbbells sets in the US - Vox
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 11:31
On lucky days, my friend Andrew drops a dumbbell alert in my Slack group chat. He tells us which sites '-- Rogue, SPRI, NordicTrack, Bowflex '-- have them in stock, which are shipping, and what kinds of weights are available. If you get to his messages five minutes late, the weights are almost always sold out.
''Finding dumbbells that deliver within a reasonable time (less than a month) is like trying to acquire concert tickets for a pop legend without ever knowing when the tickets go on sale,'' Andrew told me. ''I checked in up to five times a day on my most reliable sites, hoping that I would get lucky that two dumbbells in the weight I want will be available.''
Dumbbells, like Nintendo Switches, yeast, and bidets, are one of those things that have become extremely popular during the pandemic and extremely hard to find. People are spending more and more time at home and they're buying things that they never needed or possibly wanted before. The sudden surge in demand has created shortages of the most seemingly disparate things.
Finding dumbbells '... is like trying to acquire concert tickets for a pop legend without ever knowing when the tickets go on sale
There's also a shortage of knowledge because so many of us are first-time buyers. Gyms made these decisions for us. Trying to buy them now includes questions not just pertaining to the weight, but also shape, material, and which companies to purchase from and which to avoid '-- a dumbbell can go for $40 or $150 depending on where you're purchasing it. Friends like Andrew, who have done the research and the work, are godsends. Their recommendations are valuable and trustworthy.
For gym-goers, obtaining your own weights and working out from home had always been a possibility. But justifying the purchase was hard, especially with the rise of gyms and boutique fitness studios.
The pandemic swung the pendulum the other way '-- so much that it's hard to rationalize going back before a vaccine is created. Depending on where you live, gyms may not be open (which has led to the rise of ''speakeasy'' gyms), and disconcerting research shows that they are looking more and more like coronavirus hot zones. Working out from home with dumbbells '-- for one reason or another '-- is looking more and more like the future of fitness. Just as soon as you can get your hands on some.
America's dumbbell shortage is what happens when huge demand collides with a broken supply chain''March 15th and 16th '-- that was kind of the weekend that America changed,'' Colleen Logan, the vice president of marketing at Icon Health & Fitness, the family of fitness brands that includes NordicTrack, told me. ''We started seeing crazy, crazy sales every day. We finished March 200 percent higher than March of 2019. We finished April 400 percent higher in sales versus 2019. We finished May 600 percent higher than our sales in 2019.''
Bowflex, which I still remember from my childhood for that commercial, saw an astronomical rise in its sales, too.
''The second quarter of 2020 was one of the strongest quarters ever for our company; highlighted by record sales. Net sales increased 94 percent to $114 million compared to the same period last year,'' said John Fread, director of global marketing communications at Nautilus Inc.
Those numbers are staggering, but Logan and Fread said that once the pandemic hit, that kind of demand could be expected.
Gyms were shut down, and people who were into fitness began purchasing home equipment. Logan said her company had already seen spikes in sales and app usage following closures and lockdowns in countries like Italy and China. Peloton and Bowflex, like NordicTrack and the Icon brands, saw a massive sustained increase in sales, too.
Boutique fitness companies saw that wave as well, although it looked a little different. Barry's (formerly known as Barry's Bootcamp) responded by offering online classes at home where you could opt for bodyweight, resistance bands, or weighted classes.
Fitness professionals like Charlee Atkins, a trainer and founder of her fitness company Le Sweat, were probably best-equipped for the shortage. Atkins was teaching workouts from home before the pandemic and was producing workout content for her exercise app. Weights were a necessity for her job. But even she found herself searching for more options.
If you do not have dumbbells, try lifting small children (at your own risk)! Marlin Levison/Star Tribune via Getty Images ''Luckily, I had a set of Bowflex adjustable dumbbells going into quarantine, but I still found myself needing more options over the last few months,'' Atkins told me. ''I recently ordered a few kettlebells from Rogue after scouring their site every day.''
While one could ostensibly use jugs of water or books in a backpack as dumbbell alternatives, you'd probably, with consistent workouts, get strong enough that you'd need heavier and heavier things. That's the goal.
''The way we build muscle is by overloading the body enough to stimulate muscle breakdown and growth,'' Atkins said. ''You can overload the body with bodyweight, but at some point you are going to have to add more.''
But that colossal increase in demand from home fitness enthusiasts is just one side of the shortage.
Logan explained that over on the supply side of the shortage there was actually a two-fold problem. The first layer is that dumbbells are a small fraction of the consumer dollar share of exercise equipment sold for home use; treadmills, which are priced much higher, are still the biggest sellers, in both numbers and revenue. According to a 2019 report from the National Sporting Goods Association, around 3.9 million units of free weights were sold in 2018 compared to 5.2 million motorized treadmills.
In an average year, those sales usually start in the fall, hit their peak with January's New Year's resolutions, then taper off as it gets warmer and people are more likely to venture outside or go back to the gym. 2020 wasn't an average year. And store inventories were not at all equipped for such a massive surge in demand.
Ramping up production wasn't simple, however, for one reason: 95 percent of the world's dumbbells are made in China, Logan said. To curb the virus spread, China instituted strict lockdowns from January to April; highways and public transportation were shut down, which affected manufacturing supply chains.
''The factories couldn't open,'' Logan said, explaining that the shutdowns affected more than 35 million residents in China in January and would affect global supply chains because workers couldn't come in. Even if retailers got orders in at the turn of the New Year, there wasn't anyone to make the dumbbells. By the time the first wave of Americans were ordering weights for their lockdown workouts, they were already out of luck.
''It takes a month or so to get the products made and get them to the port,'' Logan continued. ''Then it goes from China to the United States'' '-- landing, she says in Long Beach, California '-- ''and then if they're going to the East Coast they have to go through the Panama Canal.''
Once weights do get to America, ports, too, are subject to lockdowns and social distancing, adding even more delays. The weights, through their shipping delays and lockdowns, seemingly complete a March of the Penguins-like migration.
''We had to triple our capacity for the second half of this year and have spent the last few months seeking out new factories to work with,'' Fread said. ''For reference, it can take up to months '-- if not longer '-- to ramp up a new factory. Globally, product demand continues at a high level, so we're constantly making changes to our operations to deliver products as fast as possible.''
It's August now and fitness equipment companies like Rogue Fitness and SPRI still don't have a full stock of dumbbells. SPRI is sold out of all dumbbells above 30 pounds while Rogue doesn't have any under 95. Dick's Sporting Goods, Modell's, and Big Five all have low to zero availability and aren't shipping their weights. They're scarce on Amazon, too, with some shipping in the middle of next month via Prime. EBay has a supply, but they're marked up '-- a 15-pound pair on eBay is currently selling for $169; on Rogue Fitness a similar set sells for just under $40 (when they are in stock).
The pandemic has brought the fitness industry to your homeThe dumbbell and exercise Slack I have with my friends isn't just about alerting when those sites have stock, it also where we can pool reviews and ask and answer questions. We talk about online classes that we're taking, who our favorite instructors are, and whether or not we like recent purchases like a new pair of shorts or my Peloton.
''The thing about all this for me is learning and thinking more about dumbbells than ever before,'' friend of Vox.com, Eater social media manager, burgeoning fitnessphile, and Slack participant Adam Moussa told me. ''Dumbbells were a thing I would pick up at the gym and they were simple. But now it's like, ''Do I need hexagonal? Rubber-covered? Is concrete covered in silicone just as good? What the fuck is an adjustable dumbbell set and why is it $4,000?''
To answer his question, an adjustable dumbbell set is a fitness holy grail. It's a pair of dumbbells that, thanks to fasteners and switches, can be as light as 10 pounds or as heavy as 55, depending on the brand. The 10-55 range is NordicTrack's set. The appeal is that you don't have to spend money on every incremental set of weights between 10 pounds and 55 pounds, and they take up much less space. Living in a New York City-sized apartment and only possessing two pairs of weights '-- a set of 25s for arms and 50s for legs and chest '-- having a range of weights would be a luxury. Retailing for $599 and shipping within a week or so, adjustable dumbbells are definitely that.
''What the fuck is an adjustable dumbbell set and why is it $4,000?''
That's pricey. But in the context of replacing a gym membership or fitness classes, the cost of adjustable dumbbells could quickly equal or exceed those expenses if that's where your money used to go. But even casual gym-goers might be able to justify the spend since weights at home are the only option when gyms aren't open.
''When it comes to at-home workouts, initially people are looking for bodyweight routines or ones that include a small piece of equipment, such as resistance bands,'' Atkins, the trainer and fitness company founder, said. ''You have to progress the workout at some point.'' She says that after people take her heavyweight class using dumbbells heavier than 10 pounds regularly, ''they always say, 'I've gotta get heavier weights, I didn't realize how strong I've gotten!'''
Since the pandemic and shutdowns began, Atkins has built out her app and her workouts to keep up with the demand. Trainers like Atkins, who offer classes on Zoom or Instagram Live or on apps, were better-equipped for the new reality. Same goes for companies like Barry's, which offered and continues to offer at-home classes. And in its own way, the pandemic accelerated the trend of home, virtual, or online classes.
''I would say the people that are exercising are exercising at home more,'' Atkins told me. ''I think many people are starting to realize how much you can do from home with minimal equipment, space, and time.''
As Atkins points out, lockdowns have eliminated a lot of the time we were spending outside of the house. Not being able to go to a restaurant or a movie or, yes, even the gym means more time spent at home '-- a huge reason why home improvement and hardware stores are seeing a rise in sales and traffic.
Gym-goers finally had a reason to make an exercise equipment purchase. And for companies like NordicTrack and Bowflex, the sheer magnitude of the demand and the spirit behind it took them by surprise.
The demand for exercise equipment doesn't surprise Logan and her team when it comes to regular gym-goers, but, she says, ''What's really great is that we've seen that all of a sudden a bunch of people who maybe hadn't prioritized exercise in their lives, for whatever reason, now are taking it up.''
Logan, Fread, and Atkins believe that the pandemic has swung the pendulum toward working out from home. Home workouts are here to stay, and because of that people will continue to lift weights, spin, run, and everything in between in their living rooms.
NordicTrack's adjustable dumbbell set. NordicTrack But there's a lingering question that isn't far from the one I terribly misgauged in March, which is: How long does this last? As gyms and studios open up '-- New York City announced gyms could start opening on August 24 as long as they adhere to new safety protocols '-- will people feel safe going back?
In June 2020, a OnePoll survey found that one in four of the 2,000 gym-goers asked do not plan to return to the gym even after the pandemic ends. Similarly, a Morning Consult poll for the week of August 17 found only 14 percent of respondents said they would feel comfortable going to the gym in the next month.
''When the dust settled, I had spent $450 on six weights,'' Khalid El Khatib, a friend and fellow Slack group dumbbell shopper, told me. ''But I don't regret it. Even as gyms reopen, I'm going to stay extra safe by staying home to lift.''
Lifting weights at home to stay safe and in shape feels different from working out surrounded by people, but there are some things that don't change. ''I'll keep taking 'gym selfies' in front of my own mirror,'' Khalid said. He doesn't even have to wear a mask.
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Hypocrisy: Gov. Cuomo To Exempt Celebrities From Quarantine To Attend VMAs '' NewsWars
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 11:40
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced he would allow rock stars and celebrities to bypass the state's mandatory 14-day quarantine so that they can perform at the MTV Video Music Awards next week.
In another stunning example of COVID hypocrisy by the Democrats, Cuomo has decided to exempt the music industry's hottest stars from being quarantined because they're not regular peasants like the rest of us.
''The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and Citywide Events is working in close coordination with the production to ensure guidelines are being followed,'' a City Hall spokesperson said Friday, adding that the NYPD will conduct ''compliance checks during the production.''
New York has imposed a strict 14-day quarantine to travelers from 34 states, including Florida, Texas, and Georgia, partly because it has the second highest COVID death rate of any state thanks to Cuomo's policy of pushing coronavirus patients into nursing homes statewide.
Travelers who violate New York's quarantine mandate can be fined up to $10,000 or be sentenced to 15 days in jail.
That is, unless you're Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas, The Weeknd, or Kanye West, who are all set to attend the event next Sunday.
This comes after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently declared he will impose COVID-19 ''checkpoints'' across the city to help enforce Cuomo's quarantine order.
''The checkpoints are going to send a very powerful message that this quarantine is serious. Even if we can't reach every single person I think it'll get the message across,'' de Blasio said. ''We don't want to penalize people. We want to educate them, make sure they're following the rules.''
Unless you're a major rock star, then the ''rules'' don't apply to you.
People are fleeing the Big Apple in droves.
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Covid: Woman in Australia jailed for six months over quarantine breach - BBC News
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 14:20
Published duration 21 hours ago
image copyright Getty Images
image caption Western Australia has introduced strict coronavirus restrictionsA woman has been jailed for six months in Australia for breaching coronavirus quarantine rules.
Asher Faye Vander Sanden, 28, had spent a month in the state of Victoria, which has been hit heavily by Covid-19.
She was permitted to fly home to Perth, Western Australia, and quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at her own expense.
But she instead arrived secretly in the state in a truck and stayed at her partner's home, where she was later arrested.
In Western Australia, people found to have broken quarantine laws face a maximum penalty of 12 months' imprisonment or a $50,000 (£27,000) fine.
Vander Sanden's lawyer, John Hammond, said she had travelled to Victoria to take care of her unwell sister, but returned because she couldn't cope.
She self-quarantined at her partner's home and did not have contact with anyone else, the lawyer said.
But Senior Constable McDowall called Vander Sanden "deceitful and dishonest" and called for jail time.
Magistrate Andrew Matthews said she had committed "a very serious offence" that could have resulted in an outbreak of the virus, and sentenced her to six months behind bars.
States have implemented tough restrictions on crossing state boundaries after the virus had a resurgence.
Nobody is permitted to enter Western Australia unless you are granted an exemption (which Vander Sanden was)South Australia is requiring visitors to quarantine unless they are from Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territories and Tasmania. Residents from Victoria are not allowed to enter at allIn New South Wales, residents returning from Victoria must go into hotel quarantine for 14 daysResidents of Queensland must quarantine for two weeks in provided accommodation if they have visited a "hotspot" within the last two weeks - Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital TerritoryAt least three other people have been jailed for breaches of quarantine rules.
In April, Jonathan David
was sentenced to six months and two weeks - with one month suspended - for leaving his quarantine hotel to visit his partner.
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100 nudists test positive for Covid-19 after 'very worrying' outbreak at French naturist resort | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:29
French health authorities have warned of a 'very worrying' outbreak of coronavirus at a famous nudist resort in the south of the country.
At least 95 people at the resort of Cap d'Agde, 30 miles south of Montpellier, have tested positive for the virus so far - with more results due this week.
That is in addition to an estimated 50 people who reported falling ill after returning home from the holiday village.
Health officials have warned visitors to the resort - which is also popular with swingers - that they must comply with all social distancing measures, including wearing face masks.
At least 95 visitors to the French nudist resort of Cap d'Agde, in the south of France (file image), have tested positive for coronavirus - with more results due this week
Health officials have warned visitors to the resort, which was built in the 1960s, that they must comply with all social distancing measures including wearing masks (pictured in the 1980s)
France made masks compulsory in all indoor spaces on July 20, with only very limited exceptions.
The nudist resort contains multiple indoor areas, including shops, banks, restaurants, bars and clubs.
Medics carried out 194 tests on visitors who volunteered at the resort on Monday last week, with 38 coming back positive, the regional health service said.
Another 244 tests were then carried out on Wednesday, with 57 positive.
Health officers carried out 310 additional tests on Friday, with results expected early this week.
A spokesman for the health authority said the rate of infection at the nudist resort is four times higher than the nearby village.
The outbreak comes as France on Sunday reported almost 4,900 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, its highest figure since May.
Health Minister Olivier Veran warned earlier that the situation was risky, and said infections were essentially happening among 20 to 40 year-olds at parties.
Cases among older people were starting to rise too, Veran said, but he ruled out another total lockdown in France.
While there was a small nudist village on the site of Cap d'Agde in the 1950s, it was not until the area was developed in the 1960s that the idea really took off.
Originally, the resort was simply intended to be a tourist village, before the concept of nudity was later incorporated into the plans.
The outbreak was reported as France's daily coronavirus case total increased to 4,897 on Sunday - the largest single-day increase since May
Despite the rise in cases the number of coronavirus deaths in the country has remained low, with 10 reported at the weekend
It is now thought to be the largest community of nudists anywhere in the world, with up to 40,000 people staying there at the height of a typical summer season.
As well as France, there have been worrying spikes in coronavirus cases in Spain, Germany and Switzerland - much of it blamed on holidaying Europeans and youngsters enjoying parties in the summer heatwave.
Austria and Croatia have also seen a spike in cases, leading the UK government to warn Britons returning from holidays in both countries that they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Spain and France are already included on the list.
Weekly coronavirus cases in Croatia have increased by more than 179 percent from 7.8 per 100,000 to 21.5 per 100,000.
In Austria, it's a 79.5 percent increase on the previous week from 8 per 100,000 to 14.4 per 100,000.
And in Switzerland - another nexus of European tourism - weekly cases have increased by 54.6 percent in the last week, from 11.1 per 100,000 to 17.2 per 100,000.
Germany is also experiencing an increase of 26.1% on last week, with particular concern in Berlin where the contagion is soaring wildly after overcrowding in its parks during the heat.
The latest figures, from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, bring to 228,621 the number of infections in the country since the start of the pandemic.
Italy registered 845 new cases on Thursday, its highest daily tally since May, while France's 4,771 fresh infections was a colossal increase on Wednesday's 3,776 (pictured: a graph of the rolling 7-day average)
Masks have been mandatory in all indoor spaces across France since July 20, with some cities - such as Nice, pictured - ordering masks to be worn in all public spaces
It takes the daily toll back to a level not seen since late April, when the pandemic was considered to be at its peak.
The daily record of new cases in Germany is just over 6,000, registered in early April.
Ten new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 9,253.
Faced with a surge in cases, Germany earlier this month introduced free, mandatory tests for anyone returning from areas deemed a high risk for COVID-19 infections.
But despite the second wave gathering momentum, the head of the WHO's European branch said that reimposing a full-scale lockdown measures would not be necessary.
Hans Kluge said: 'With the basic nationwide and additional targeted measures, we are in a much better position to stamp out these localized virus flare-ups.
'We can manage the virus and keep the economy running and an education system in operation.'
Countries are currently racing to develop vaccines for the virus, with several candidates in late-stage development - including in China, the US and UK.
Russia claims to have already approved a vaccine for widespread use in humans, the the Philippines signing up to receive millions of doses, though the medication has not yet undergone mass-testing.
The Kremlin said last week that it is also testing the vaccine on 40,000 people in its own country.
The EU said on Thursday it had concluded talks with a German pharmaceutical firm to secure 225 million doses of a potential vaccine - the fourth such agreement the bloc has reached.
French President Emmanuel Macron hailed European cooperation on the issue and said he was hopeful that a vaccine would come online with the next few months.
'This will not solve the problems of the next few weeks, but of the next few months,' he said.
However, while a vaccine remains elusive, governments are left trying to control the spread through social-distancing measures, quarantines, travel bans and restrictions on businesses.
Build Back Better / Green New Dill
Wereldwinkel Venlo 'º Nieuws Build Back Better!
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 15:24
Wereldwinkel Venlo onderschrijft het krachtige en gezamenlijke statement van Solidaridad en Fairtrade Nederland getiteld : ''Build Back Better''.
Het statement:
''De impact van de Covid-19 pandemie laat zien dat het tijd is voor echte verandering. Tijd voor een samenleving waarin iedereen toegang heeft tot gezondheidszorg, voedsel en een basisinkomen. Een samenleving waarin de zorg voor onze planeet en al haar bewoners voorop staat. Stop met de race naar de laagste prijs als businessmodel. Stel mens en milieu in de gehele keten centraal en pas inkoopvoorwaarden en inkoopprijzen toe die bijdragen aan de verhoging van inkomens van boeren en lonen van werknemers en positief bijdragen aan de klimaatdoelstellingen. We hebben een duurzame leider nodig. En versnelling van de realisatie van de ambities op klimaat, milieu en de SDG's''(Redactie: SDG staat voor UN Sustainable Development Goals ofwel global goals).
Mede ondertekenaars van zijn onder andere Hivos, FairFood, Oxfam Novib en Save the Children.
Het statement is verstuurd naar de leden van de Tweede Kamercommissie voor Buitenlandse Handel en Ontwikkelingssamenwerking.
Wereldwinkels willen een bijdrage leveren aan deze veranderingen om te beginnen door aandacht te vragen voor de producenten in het Zuiden en consumenten op te roepen zoveel mogelijk Fairtrade te kopen. Er zijn nieuwe wegen nodig om Fairtrade een nieuwe impuls te geven en de impact van ons handelen te vergroten. Het idee van eerlijk delen, eerlijke handel en eerlijke productie kan alleen slagen als we een steeds wijdere kring van mensen gaan bereiken.
Webshop en deelname aan Global Goals platform Venlo:
Met de lancering van onze webshop, bezorgdienst en deelname aan het Global Goals Platform Venlo willen we lokaal bijdragen aan fairtrade en de global goals. We zijn begin juni weer vijf middagen open en hopen dat zo spoedig mogelijk verder te verruimen. Interesse om ons actieve en gezellige team te komen versterken: zie onze vacatures voor verkoopmedewerkers en bestuursleden.
'Cooperate with us': China's Xi bypasses Trump in appeal to US state and local officials
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 15:09
| August 25, 2020 04:36 PM
State and local officials in the United States can strengthen economic ties that offset the worsening rivalry between Washington and Beijing, according to Chinese autocrat Xi Jinping.
''We must actively cooperate with all countries, regions, and enterprises who are willing to cooperate with us, including states, localities, and enterprises in the United States,'' Xi said, following an annual policy retreat.
Those comments were released on the heels of President Trump's statement Sunday that he might ''decouple'' the American economy from China if he is reelected and trade negotiations with Beijing proceed unsatisfactorily. The trade war represents one front in broadening competition with the rising communist power, but Chinese officials have touted economic ties with Western countries to offset American warnings that such relationships bring national security vulnerabilities.
''Some American politicians claim falsely that the U.S. has been ripped off by China, and that China's development is a gift from the U.S.,'' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response to Trump's remarks. ''Trying to solve domestic problems through decoupling is like looking for fish in trees or drinking poison to quench thirst. The country doing so will eventually harm the interests of its own businesses and people.''
The comments from Trump and Xi came at the outset of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's trip to Europe this week, where he is on an apparent mission to blunt Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent efforts to ''build out a coalition'' of democratic nations to counter Chinese aggression.
''We are resolutely opposed to any promotion of a new Cold War,'' the foreign minister said in Rome, in an implicit accusation against the U.S. ''This is for one's self-interest. This is to hold all countries in the world hostage.''
Italy is one of the few major Western capitals to sign up for China's controversial Belt and Road Initiative, an overseas investment program that U.S. officials regard as a ''predatory'' lending scheme that Beijing uses to purchase geopolitical influence. Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio affirmed the country's interest in the Belt and Road Initiative but also rebuked Beijing's recent encroachment on Hong Kong, in a demonstration of how the mainland Chinese government's attempt to consolidate control of the former British colony has created a backlash in Europe.
''I stressed that Italy and other EU member states together support Hong Kong's stability and prosperity on the basis of 'one country, two systems,''' Di Maio said.
Xi, in his separate remarks, acknowledged that Beijing might pay an economic price overseas. "In the coming period, we will face more and more headwinds in the external environment, and we must be prepared to deal with a series of new risks and challenges,'' he said. ''The dominance of the domestic market will become more apparent in the foreseeable future. We will insist on the strategic direction of supply-side structural reform, adapting production, distribution, circulation, and consumption mainly to domestic needs.''
Green New Deal is behind this
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 18:21
We believe working together will give us the best chance of succeeding in this moment. This is a movement made up of organisations and groups from many different places. We are teachers, healthcare workers, students and organisations who are fighting for change.
As a campaign we are run by a steering group. The campaign was initiated, and is currently co-ordinated, by Green New Deal UK, working with a growing range of groups and organisations. The campaign is drawing on existing funding from the European Climate Foundation and Oak Foundation. The Build Back Better steering group consists of:
Green New Deal UK
Medact
Greenpeace
Greener Jobs Alliance
PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union)
UKSCN (UK School Climate Network)
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Workforce
New Economics Foundation
Friends of the Earth
350.org '
''We are also supported by many more organisations, listed here. If you would like to add your organisation's support, please fill in this form:
We want everybody who shares our desire to build back better to join us.If you are organisation who wants to support the campaign, get in touch at
info@buildbackbetteruk.orgIf you are an individual, sign up today by joining the virtual rally below:
'COVID-19 emergency response and climate action should go hand in hand' | News item | netherlandsworldwide.nl
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 14:58
News item | 07-07-2020 | 13:39
One of the most important long-term threats of the COVID-19 crisis is the risk of short-sighted policy responses, according to Dutch Director-General for International Cooperation Kitty van der Heijden. In a Build Back Better webinar on 1 July 2020, part of London Climate Action Week (LCAW), Van der Heijden said: "What this COVID-19 crisis and its socio-economic impact lays bare is that all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are intertwined. It has also taught us how intertwined we all are. And that is why it is so important that the SDGs are a universal agenda. ('...) Not just to go green, but to develop into just global economies with equal chances for everybody."
Kitty van der Heijden participated in the Build Back Better webinar at London Climate Action Week 2020The will to Build Back BetterThe Build Back Better webinar was co-organised by the World Resources Institute and the Dutch Embassy in the United Kingdom. It was one of three LCAW webinars the Dutch Embassy co-hosted.
A recurring theme of London Climate Action Week 2020 was the will to recover from the pandemic-induced economic crisis in a more sustainable way. It also became apparent that it requires a tremendous amount of dedication and effort to make this happen and that a green recovery is not a given. Van der Heijden: ''As a public sector at large, worldwide, we are pouring in 17% of global GDP into recovery packages. That is unprecedented. ('...) It is about the decisions we take right now, with a humongous amount of money. And Bloomberg is very clear in its analysis: at the moment, of this entire package merely 0.15% '' that is negligible '' is spent on energy transition, energy efficiency and everything else we need to keep the world from warming up more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.'' The same point was made by the Dutch Ambassador for Sustainable Development, Carola van Rijnsoever, in another webinar taking place on the same day, organised by the NDC Partnership, co-chaired by the governments of the Netherlands and Costa Rica. ''We can and must do significantly better, there is no other way.''
Val Gnanendran, Director of Climate and Environment at the British Department for International Development, fully agreed that ''the decisions taken in the next few months about the recovery are going to lock in the economic trajectory, so it is really important that those decisions drive climate action.''
Recordings of both webinars, co-organised with the World Resources Institute and with NDC Partnership, will come available in due course.
Decarbonising transport: the role of cyclingA third event co-organised by the Dutch Embassy in the UK during London Climate Action Week was about the benefits of cycling. This event was a collaboration with Cycling UK. It was the third webinar in less than a month the Embassy co-organised with Cycling UK. Previous events had focused on what local councils and what employers could do to promote cycling in the UK. Dutch speakers were invited at these events to share what approaches are taken in the Netherlands, where the bicycle has become a very common mode of transport, thanks to decades of investments to improve roads and ensure it is safe and easy, for people of all age groups, to move through towns and cities on a bicycle.
Watch recordings of the three webinars here:
Creating a new normal; cycling post-pandemic in the UK Make commuting by bike first choice Decarbonising transport; the role of cyclingRun-up to Climate Adaptation Summit and COP26As North Sea Neighbours, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have been ambitious climate partners for years. In these unprecedented times, collaboration is more important than ever. The London Climate Action Week has been a great example of how we can all work together [with participants joining from all over the world]. Two major events that are coming up in the Netherlands and the UK in the next 18 months are the online Climate Adaptation Summit, hosted by the Netherlands on 25 January 2021, and COP26 in November 2021, hosted by the UK. The Netherlands looks forward to continued collaboration, action and debate in the run-up to these events and beyond.
Contact the Dutch EmbassyIf you have any questions about Climate policies in the Netherlands, please contact us on LON-PA@minbuza.nl.
China
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'Cooperate with us': China's Xi bypasses Trump in appeal to US state and local officials
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 15:09
| August 25, 2020 04:36 PM
State and local officials in the United States can strengthen economic ties that offset the worsening rivalry between Washington and Beijing, according to Chinese autocrat Xi Jinping.
''We must actively cooperate with all countries, regions, and enterprises who are willing to cooperate with us, including states, localities, and enterprises in the United States,'' Xi said, following an annual policy retreat.
Those comments were released on the heels of President Trump's statement Sunday that he might ''decouple'' the American economy from China if he is reelected and trade negotiations with Beijing proceed unsatisfactorily. The trade war represents one front in broadening competition with the rising communist power, but Chinese officials have touted economic ties with Western countries to offset American warnings that such relationships bring national security vulnerabilities.
''Some American politicians claim falsely that the U.S. has been ripped off by China, and that China's development is a gift from the U.S.,'' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response to Trump's remarks. ''Trying to solve domestic problems through decoupling is like looking for fish in trees or drinking poison to quench thirst. The country doing so will eventually harm the interests of its own businesses and people.''
The comments from Trump and Xi came at the outset of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's trip to Europe this week, where he is on an apparent mission to blunt Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent efforts to ''build out a coalition'' of democratic nations to counter Chinese aggression.
''We are resolutely opposed to any promotion of a new Cold War,'' the foreign minister said in Rome, in an implicit accusation against the U.S. ''This is for one's self-interest. This is to hold all countries in the world hostage.''
Italy is one of the few major Western capitals to sign up for China's controversial Belt and Road Initiative, an overseas investment program that U.S. officials regard as a ''predatory'' lending scheme that Beijing uses to purchase geopolitical influence. Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio affirmed the country's interest in the Belt and Road Initiative but also rebuked Beijing's recent encroachment on Hong Kong, in a demonstration of how the mainland Chinese government's attempt to consolidate control of the former British colony has created a backlash in Europe.
''I stressed that Italy and other EU member states together support Hong Kong's stability and prosperity on the basis of 'one country, two systems,''' Di Maio said.
Xi, in his separate remarks, acknowledged that Beijing might pay an economic price overseas. "In the coming period, we will face more and more headwinds in the external environment, and we must be prepared to deal with a series of new risks and challenges,'' he said. ''The dominance of the domestic market will become more apparent in the foreseeable future. We will insist on the strategic direction of supply-side structural reform, adapting production, distribution, circulation, and consumption mainly to domestic needs.''
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MPS on Twitter: "1/5 This @nytimes article by @paulmozur is a smoking gun on the genesis of the coronavirus lockdowns. According to the article, the CCP launched a massive social media campaign in ITALY to advertise its coronavirus lockdown measures in ea
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 00:25
MPS : 1/5 This @nytimes article by @paulmozur is a smoking gun on the genesis of the coronavirus lockdowns.According t'... https://t.co/1t6JAzkRYY
Thu Jun 11 03:48:15 +0000 2020
Behind China's Twitter Campaign, a Murky Supporting Chorus - The New York Times
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 00:25
Swarms of accounts are amplifying Beijing's brash new messaging as the country tries to shape the global narrative about the coronavirus and much else.
Credit... Yifan Wu Published June 8, 2020Updated June 10, 2020
As the Trump administration lashes out at China over a range of grievances, Beijing's top diplomats and representatives are using the president's favorite online megaphone '-- Twitter '-- to slap back with a pugnaciousness that is best described as Trumpian.
Behind China's combative new messengers, a murky hallelujah chorus of sympathetic accounts has emerged to repost them and cheer them on. Many are new to the platform. Some do little else but amplify the Beijing line.
No doubt some of these accounts are run by patriotic, tech-savvy Chinese people who get around their government's ban on Twitter and other Western platforms. But an analysis by The New York Times found that many of the accounts behaved with a single-mindedness that could suggest a coordinated campaign of the type that nation states have carried out on Twitter in the past.
Of the roughly 4,600 accounts that reposted China's leading envoys and state-run news outlets during a recent week, many acted suspiciously, The Times found. One in six tweeted with extremely high frequency despite having few followers, as if they were being used as loudspeakers, not as sharing platforms.
Nearly one in seven tweeted almost nothing of their own, instead filling their feeds with reposts of the official Chinese accounts and others.
In all, one third of the accounts had been created in the last three months, as the war of words with the Trump administration heated up. One in seven had zero followers.
The United States and China are battling to dominate the global narrative. China was criticized for its early mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak, but it has regained confidence as other countries have made their own stumbles. With the United States in turmoil, upended first by the epidemic and now by protests, Beijing sees a chance to define itself as a global leader, one unafraid to press its interests in Hong Kong and the region.
Image China was criticized for its early cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak, but it has regained confidence as other countries have made their own stumbles. Credit... Getty Images It is far from clear that the Chinese government is behind the swarms of accounts helping to spread its gospel on Twitter. Online information campaigns are becoming increasingly sophisticated as malicious actors get better at disguising their digital activity, security experts say. They now rarely make telltale mistakes such as using social media accounts that were all created on the same day, follow one another and post the same material.
Campaigns are often uncovered one small piece at a time. Twitter has declared operations to be state-backed after identifying as few as six accounts.
Much is unknown about China's covert influence activities in particular. Twitter last year suspended more than 200,000 accounts that it called a Chinese state-backed operation aimed at discrediting Hong Kong's protesters, though it said little about how it came to that conclusion.
Still, The Times's findings add to other recent evidence suggesting that Twitter is being manipulated to amplify pro-Beijing messages. Next Dim, a data firm in Israel, discovered two mundane-looking tweets praising China's coronavirus response that were liked and reposted hundreds of thousands of times in March, possibly with the help of strategically placed influencer accounts.
The U.S. State Department found inauthentic-seeming accounts that in April cited a Cambridge University study to raise doubts that the coronavirus originated in China. The most active of these accounts referred to the study in scores of tweets, even though the study's lead author dismissed that interpretation of its findings.
Neither Next Dim's findings nor the State Department's have been previously reported.
''Improving the health of the public conversation is a priority for our company,'' Twitter said in a statement. ''Platform manipulation, including spam and other attempts to undermine the public conversation, is a violation of the Twitter Rules.''
The State Department has denounced China's efforts to burnish its image and drown out criticism during the pandemic, comparing them to Russia's disinformation campaigns. Both countries are using a range of tools to ''shape and tilt any given information environment in their favor,'' said Lea Gabrielle, coordinator of the department's Global Engagement Center.
''I think the Chinese Communist Party is still trying to define its relationship with Twitter,'' said Kristine Lee, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security. ''But the Covid-19 pandemic has served as an important period of experimentation.''
The U.S.-China tongue-lashing adds to the questions vexing Twitter about how it treats inflammatory or misleading remarks from world leaders. Mr. Trump has accused the company of censoring him and other Republicans while ignoring questionable posts by Democrats and the Chinese government.
Beijing's Twitter brigade includes Hua Chunying, the head of the foreign ministry's information department. Since joining the platform in October, Ms. Hua has attracted more than half a million followers with her feisty put-downs of the United States.
In a Communist Party journal last year, Ms. Hua wrote that China had to find a voice in international affairs that was commensurate with its economic strength. ''We have walked closer to the center of the world stage than ever before, but we still do not grasp the microphone completely in our hands,'' she wrote.
One reason, she wrote: a lack of ''fighting spirit.''
Another foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, became notorious after tweeting that the U.S. military might have brought the coronavirus to China. Twitter later added a fact-checking label to Mr. Zhao's post.
The Times analyzed all of the tweets that Ms. Hua, Mr. Zhao and 12 other Twitter users linked to the Chinese government posted between May 18 and May 25.
The other users included the foreign ministry's main account, as well as the accounts of China's ambassadors to the United States and Britain. They also included nine accounts run by state news outlets.
That week, Beijing moved to tighten its control over Hong Kong. Mr. Trump threatened to cut off funding to the World Health Organization. American officials congratulated Taiwan's president on the start of her second term. China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, was furious.
Ms. Hua mused about whether the coronavirus actually originated in the United States: ''Scientists at the US NIH began developing a #COVID19 vaccine on January 11. There were reports of cases as early as November last year. Any explanation or investigation?'' Her post, which refers to the National Institutes of Health, was liked 4,600 times.
The Times's analysis found that hundreds of the 4,600 accounts that reposted the Chinese government mouthpieces that week behaved suspiciously. Many were incessant tweeters despite having limited followings. After excluding accounts that had zero followers and had tweeted five times or fewer, over a sixth of the accounts had posted 100 or more times for every follower.
A few accounts repeatedly retweeted at set lengths of time after the original post '-- 9 hours and 49 minutes after, 19 hours and 34 minutes after '-- suggesting that software had been used to schedule their tweets. Twitter has since suspended some of the accounts for violating its policies.
When contacted by The Times, several pro-China Twitter users denied being part of a government campaign but acknowledged that they joined the platform specifically to follow the foreign ministry representatives. The ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Image Zhao Lijian, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, has gained notoriety for his pugnacious tweets. Credit... Wu Hong/EPA, via Shutterstock Others said they were either curious about Mr. Trump's tweets about China or felt demonized by them.
''He has done so many shameless things for re-election,'' one user, @beautifullady76, said in a Twitter message. ''Countless Chinese people are angry and everyone has the right to the truth. We just want to say a fair word for China!''
Public records show that Beijing is trying to expand its influence on the Western internet. China's internet regulator has sought out contractors to help it ''make use of overseas social media platforms to develop online propaganda on major themes,'' procurement documents show.
Much of this kind of activity may not appear in official documents, however. The regulator did not respond to a request for comment.
''There's no reason to think that the parts of the Chinese government that are formally in charge of conducting information operations are not able to conduct operations that are as sophisticated as others','' said Camille Fran§ois of the network analysis company Graphika. ''They just haven't been publicly exposed and dissected yet.''
Researchers remain on the lookout. ProPublica tracked 10,000 fishy accounts that posted about the coronavirus and the Hong Kong protests. Alkemy, an Italian digital marketing firm, found that inauthentic-looking users were behind many posts celebrating Chinese medical aid to Italy.
In March, two tweets lauding China's handling of the outbreak were liked and reposted hundreds of thousands of times. The posts were not shocking, funny or newsworthy, and originated from users with modest followings.
That caught the attention of Next Dim, an Israeli company that uses network analytics to identify and prevent financial crime.
''While scanning Twitter, our systems automatically discovered a huge irregularity,'' said Next Dim's chief executive, Netta Marrom. Too huge, he believes, to be the result of chance.
On March 12, the first user, @manisha_kataki, posted a video showing workers disinfecting streets in China. ''At this rate, China will be back in action very soon, may be much faster than the world expects,'' the user wrote.
The next day, another user, @Ejiketion, retweeted the post, marveling at how China had locked down cities and built coronavirus hospitals. In the West, by contrast, ''We washing our hands LOL,'' @Ejiketion wrote. The account has since been deleted.
The two posts together received more than 382,000 retweets and 1.1 million likes, many of them within the first two days. That made them roughly as popular as Elon Musk's tweet, also from March, in which the head of Tesla called the coronavirus panic ''dumb.''
Two other posts that also retweeted @manisha_kataki but translated @Ejiketion's comment into Spanish and French received a combined 67,000 retweets and 181,000 likes.
Next Dim identified around 20 Twitter users whose followers accounted for thousands of the retweets of @manisha_kataki's and @Ejiketion's posts. Some of these users had immense followings but rarely tweeted about China.
Image Tiananmen Square in Beijing during the annual meeting of China's legislature last month. Credit... Roman Pilipey/EPA, via Shutterstock Next Dim's analysis uncovered other signs that the two tweets' popularity may not have been organic. Few of the first users to retweet @manisha_kataki's post were followers of the account, which means they were unlikely to have seen the tweet in their timelines. Thousands of accounts reposted both tweets, even though @Ejiketion's tweet was itself a repost of @manisha_kataki's.
Neither @manisha_kataki nor @Ejiketion responded to requests for comment.
Wang Yiwei and Lin Qiqing contributed research.
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Texas A&M professor charged with hiding Chinese Thousand Talents affiliation while getting NASA grants
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 13:12
| August 24, 2020 03:20 PM
A Texas A&M University professor was arrested for allegedly concealing his participation in China's Thousand Talents program while receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in NASA research grants, the Justice Department announced on Monday.
Zhengdong Cheng, 53, was arrested in Texas on Sunday on charges of conspiracy, making false statements, and wire fraud. A statement from the Justice Department said that Cheng ''led a team conducting research for NASA'' while he ''willfully took steps to obscure his affiliations and collaboration with a Chinese University and at least one Chinese-owned company'' and that ''the terms of Cheng's grant prohibited participation, collaboration or coordination'' with China or Chinese companies and universities.
He was set to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam Sheldon on Monday at 10 a.m. in Houston, Texas.
The FBI said that ''Cheng was part of a research team that applied for, and ultimately received, a $746,967 grant to conduct research for NASA'' and that ''Cheng hid his association with China, Chinese-owned companies, and Chinese universities, which, according to NASA officials, if known to NASA, would have prohibited him from participating in the NASA grant and receiving U.S. Government funding through that grant.''
''Once again, we have witnessed the criminal consequences that can arise from undisclosed participation in the Chinese government's talent program,'' Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said. ''Professor Cheng allegedly made false statements to his university and to NASA regarding his affiliations with the Chinese government. The Department of Justice will continue seeking to bring participation in these talent programs to light and to expose the exploitation of our nation and our prized research institutions.''
The press release from the Justice Department noted that the Thousand Talents program is ''designed to attract, recruit and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China's scientific development, economic prosperity, and national security.'' The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, led by Republican Sen. Rob Portman, released a 109-page bipartisan report in November, concluding that foreign countries ''seek to exploit America's openness to advance their own national interests'' and that ''the most aggressive of them has been China.'' It found China used its Thousand Talents program to exploit access to U.S. research labs and academic institutions.
Special Agent Benjamin Harper of the FBI's Houston Division authored the 24-page criminal complaint, which noted that Cheng ''engaged in a scheme'' to ''defraud'' NASA with the goals to ''enrich'' himself in approximately $86,876 in NASA grant funds, ''gain access'' to the ''unique resources'' of the International Space Station, ''leverage NASA grant resources to further the research of Chinese institutions,'' and ''enhance his ability to become a Thousand Talents Plan award recipient from the Government of China by knowingly and intentionally making false statements'' in official communications with both Texas A&M and U.S. government grant applications ''to hide Cheng's affiliations with the Chinese government and private entities, thereby inducing Texas A&M University to submit false statements to NASA.''
The complaint notes that Cheng was hired as a professor at Texas A&M in 2004, whereupon he performed research using grants from the U.S. government, including NASA. But Cheng concealed his Thousand Talents connection and hid that he was also the director of the Soft Matter Institute of Guangdong University of Technology in China from 2012 through at least 2018, formed Foshan City Ge Wei Technology Company in affiliation with GDUT in 2014, and was a professor at the Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies at Southern University of Science and Technology in China starting in 2017.
Cheng is not the first person to be accused of being part of the Thousand Talents program and arrested for taking advantage of NASA's grants '-- Arkansas professor Simon Saw-Teong Ang, who received millions of dollars of U.S. government research money, including $500,000 from NASA, was arrested for allegedly failing to disclose his extensive financial connections to China back in May.
Multiple members of the Chinese military have been charged by the Justice Department in recent weeks for concealing their ties to China's military and allegedly committing visa fraud while acting as students or researchers at U.S. universities. The Justice Department's China Initiative aims to combat Chinese espionage, and the United States has arrested and charged a number of scientists, including Harvard's chemistry department chairman, Charles Lieber.
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China accuses U.S. of "naked act of provocation," test fires "aircraft carrier-killer" missile - CBS News
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 20:01
A U.S. Air Force U-2 Dragon Lady takes part in a drill at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, August 21, 2017. Lee Sang-hak/Yonhap via STRINGER / REUTERS Beijing '-- China verbally protested the alleged incursion of a U.S. Air Force U-2 spy plane into a no-fly zone imposed during live-fire military exercises in the country's north on Wednesday. Beijing test fired two missiles as an apparent warning to the U.S. military in response, including one described by the South China Morning Post newspaper as an "aircraft carrier-killer."
In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Ministry of National Defense said the alleged U-2 flight had "seriously interfered in normal exercise activities" and "severely incurred the risk of misjudgement and even of bringing about an unintended air-sea incident."
"This was a naked act of provocation," the ministry said, quoting spokesperson Wu Qian. China has lodged a stern protest and demanded the U.S. cease such actions, Wu said.
The statement did not give details on the time and place of the drills, but the information matched exercises the Maritime Safety Administration said started Monday and would run through Sept. 30 over the Bohai Gulf east of Beijing.
Chinese officials did not mention the test firing of two missiles on Wednesday, but a U.S. defense official confirmed to CBS News national security correspondent David Martin the report by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post that the two ballistic missiles had been launched.
The newspaper said one of the missiles was a DF-21d, which it said has been described by Chinese state media as the "world's first anti-ship ballistic missile." Both of the missiles landed in the sea in an area designated by China for the ongoing military exercises, according to the paper.
Relations between the U.S. and China have sunk to their lowest in decades amid disputes over myriad issues including trade, technology, Taiwan and the South China Sea.
U.S. shifts policy on South China SeaThe high-altitude U-2 reconnaissance planes were flown over China, the former Soviet Union and other countries in the Communist bloc during the Cold War and upgraded versions continue to support U.S. missions.
China is also holding naval drills in the South China Sea, which it claims virtually in its entirety but over which five other governments also exercise claims. China objects to all U.S. military activity in and over the strategic waterway, especially " freedom of navigation operations " during which U.S. Navy ships sail near to Chinese-held islands.
Another naval exercise is planned from Thursday to Sunday in the East China Sea despite warnings issued over Typhoon Bavi, which is affecting the Korean Peninsula.
The defense ministry earlier this month said combat exercises were held in the Taiwan Strait and surrounding waters that were a "necessary move responding to the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and were meant to safeguard national sovereignty."
China ramps up political meddling in TaiwanChina claims Taiwan is its territory and threatens to use military force to bring under its control the island that is a self-governing democracy and close U.S. ally.
Washington and Taipei have increased military and governmental contacts in recent years and this month, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan , prompting a Chinese protest.
The eastern command of the People's Liberation Army will "stay on high alert and take all necessary measures to fight against provocations and protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity," the ministry quoted command spokesperson, Senior Col. Zhang Chunhui, as saying.
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WNBA kneeling with shirts with bullet holes on their backs
The NBA's crisis in China threatens multibillion-dollar ties - CBS News
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 03:09
It wasn't even a month ago that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sat overlooking center court at a Beijing arena, watching the gold-medal game at the World Cup with other basketball dignitaries. That night was all smiles.
Silver's return to China later this week is likely to be much different.
The relationship between China and the National Basketball Association '-- a multibillion-dollar marriage that involves media rights, streaming, merchandise sales and much more '-- is strained right now in ways unlike any other since the league first began planting roots there in earnest three decades ago.
A since-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey that showed support for Hong Kong anti-government protesters prompted an immediate backlash, complicated further by the timing of the NBA having two preseason games in China this week.
1/ I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.
'-- Daryl Morey (@dmorey) October 7, 2019"We apologize," Rockets star James Harden said in Japan on Monday. "We love China. We love playing there. I know for both of us individually we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most support and love. So we appreciate them as a fan base and we love everything they're about and we appreciate the support that they give us individually and as an organization."
NBA statementThat support is being sternly tested, be it from tweets that were deleted, uproars over an NBA statement that had some of its meaning lost in translation when posted in Mandarin and even the cancellation announced Monday of two G League games to be played in China between the minor-league affiliates of the Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks.
At least one Chinese sporting goods company said it was no longer cooperating with the Rockets and a sports news website In China said it was no longer covering the team.
"There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear," Silver told Kyodo News in an interview Monday. "There have already been fairly dramatic consequences from that tweet, and I have read some of the media suggesting that we are not supporting Daryl Morey, but in fact we have."
Yao Ming's Houston tiesThe NBA is enormously popular in China: Oft-cited figures from basketball executives in both the U.S. and China say that 300 million people play the game recreationally there and that about 500 million Chinese watched at least one NBA game last season.
And the Rockets are among the biggest team brands there, no doubt because Chinese star Yao Ming '-- a Basketball Hall of Famer '-- spent his NBA career with Houston.
Former NBA player Yao Ming, now president of the Chinese Basketball Association in China, in August. How Hwee Young/Pool Reuters Yao is now president of the Chinese Basketball Association, which announced over the weekend it is suspending its ties with the Rockets in retaliation for Morey's tweet. While Yao has not shared his personal feelings on the topic, it's clear that the relationship between Yao and his only NBA team is currently, at best, rocky.
"An inherent American value"Silver will address the matter at a news conference Tuesday in Japan, where the Rockets are playing this week. He then is scheduled to speak in Shanghai on Thursday, in advance of two preseason games in China between the Los Angeles Lakers, led by global sports icon LeBron James, and the Brooklyn Nets, now owned by Joe Tsai, the billionaire co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
"What is the problem with people freely expressing their opinion? This freedom is an inherent American value and the NBA has been very progressive in allowing players and other constituents a platform to speak out on issues," Tsai wrote in a lengthy open letter posted late Sunday. "The problem is, there are certain topics that are third-rail issues in certain countries, societies and communities."
And in China, discussion of the Hong Kong protests is one of those issues, Tsai said.
The NBA's relationship with China dates back about 30 years to the time when former Commissioner David Stern struck a deal with Chinese television to show games on a tape-delayed basis. Stern even talked about having an NBA-sponsored or branded league in China. The first league office there had three employees and flimsy furniture.
NBA workers in ChinaNow, about 200 NBA employees work in China in offices in Beijing and Shanghai. Games are streamed live and Chinese media cover all the league's biggest events such as All-Star weekend and the NBA Finals. The league has played preseason games there for years, has three NBA academies in the country '-- designed to find the next star prospect '-- and big-name players go there every offseason to promote their brand.
Retired Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has a lifetime contract with Chinese apparel company Li-Ning. Golden State guard Klay Thompson has a 10-year deal with another Chinese shoe company, Anta. Five-time champion Kobe Bryant has been visiting China annually for about two decades and is a massive star there, even now that his playing career is done.
The league has navigated its way around one thorny issue related to the U.S. and China in recent months: a trade war between the nations that includes back-and-forth tariffs. The Hong Kong tweet, though, is likely to present a much bigger test for the NBA.
"What I can tell you for sure is it's not going to erase the decades of work that, you know, myself and everyone else in the NBA has put in in building a tremendous base for basketball in China," Golden State Warriors COO Rick Welts said Monday in an appearance on CNBC. "And I think this will pass. And I do think our future in China is probably pretty remarkable."
'Our Focus Today Cannot Be On Basketball': Bucks Players Speak Out After Boycotting Playoff Game | The Daily Wire
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:28
The players for the Milwaukee Bucks have released a collective statement following their boycott of the NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday evening, a cancellation the Milwaukee team attributed to the need to focus on racial injustice in the United States.
''Over the last few days, in our home state of Wisconsin, we've seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, and the additional shooting of protestors. Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball,'' a player told reporters after the game was cancelled, speaking on behalf of the team.
Another player continued with the statement, adding: ''When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, to give maximum effort, and hold each other accountable. We hold ourself to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from lawmakers and law enforcement. We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin State Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction, and take the meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality, and criminal justice reform.''
''We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on November 3rd,'' he concluded.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the Bucks decided against playing the playoffs game earlier today amidst the violent unrest in Kenosha, where 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot by a police officer seven times on Sunday. The NBA has claimed the game and two others will be rescheduled, but in a video conference clip posted by ESPN reporter Malika Andrews, the team declined to answer whether they planned to finish the season.
The Milwaukee Bucks statement: pic.twitter.com/F7XOPs4NqE
'-- Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) August 26, 2020
MLB players for the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds also cancelled a baseball game slated for Wednesday evening, citing their desire to draw attention to '' racial and systemic oppression'' in a moment of national pain.
After the three games were cancelled, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Haul (D) provided details on the events that precipitated the shooting, saying that police officers initially tried to arrest Blake, then fired at him with a taser. Blake was not stopped, and Haul said he proceeded to walk ''around his vehicle, open the driver side door, and lean forward.''
The attorney general told reporters that police officer Rustin Sheskey, a 7-year veteran of the police force, then shot Blake in the back seven times while holding him by the shirt. Haul also said that Blake told police he had a knife, and investigators recovered a knife from the driver's side of his car.
The Daily Wire is one of America's fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member .
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Stoked Washington's Fears About TikTok - WSJ
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:41
When Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg delivered a speech about freedom of expression in Washington, D.C., last fall, there was also another agenda: to raise the alarm about the threat from Chinese tech companies and, more specifically, the popular video-sharing app TikTok.
Tucked into the speech was a line pointing to Facebook's rising rival: Mr. Zuckerberg told Georgetown students that TikTok doesn't share Facebook's commitment to freedom of expression, and represents a risk to American values and technological supremacy.
That was a message Mr. Zuckerberg hammered behind the scenes in meetings with officials and lawmakers during the October trip and a separate visit to Washington weeks earlier, according to people familiar with the matter.
In a private dinner at the White House in late October, Mr. Zuckerberg made the case to President Trump that the rise of Chinese internet companies threatens American business, and should be a bigger concern than reining in Facebook, some of the people said.
Mr. Zuckerberg discussed TikTok specifically in meetings with several senators, according to people familiar with the meetings. In late October, Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.)'--who met with Mr. Zuckerberg in September'--and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) wrote a letter to intelligence officials demanding an inquiry into TikTok. The government began a national-security review of the company soon after, and by the spring, Mr. Trump began threatening to ban the app entirely. This month he signed an executive order demanding that TikTok's Chinese owner, ByteDance Ltd., divest itself of its U.S. operations.
Few tech companies have as much to gain as Facebook from TikTok's travails, and the social-media giant has taken an active role in raising concerns about the popular app and its Chinese owners.
In addition to Mr. Zuckerberg's personal outreach and public statements about Chinese competition, Facebook has established an advocacy group, called American Edge, that has begun running ads extolling U.S. tech companies for their contributions to American economic might, national security and cultural influence. And Facebook overall in the first half of this year spent more on lobbying than any other single company, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2018, by contrast, it ranked eighth among companies, the center's data show.
It couldn't be determined exactly what role Mr. Zuckerberg's comments have played in the government's handling of TikTok. A spokeswoman for Sen. Cotton said his office doesn't comment on the senator's meetings.
Asked about the dinner, a White House spokesman said the administration ''is committed to protecting the American people from all cyber related threats to critical infrastructure, public health and safety, and our economic and national security.''
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said Mr. Zuckerberg has no recollection of discussing TikTok at the dinner.
The CEO's comments in Washington about the Chinese app were tied into Facebook's campaign to blunt antitrust and regulatory threats by emphasizing Facebook's importance to U.S. tech pre-eminence, he said.
''Our view on China has been clear: we must compete,'' Mr. Stone said in a written statement. ''As Chinese companies and influence have been growing so has the risk of a global internet based on their values, as opposed to ours.''
In an employee meeting this month, Mr. Zuckerberg called the executive order against TikTok unwelcome, because the global harm of such a move could outweigh any short-term gain to Facebook. The remarks were earlier reported by BuzzFeed News.
TikTok has gained more than 100 million U.S. users and become the biggest threat to Facebook's dominance of social media, as the app's blend of dance videos and goofs has made it a sensation among young people around the world. In the first quarter of 2020, TikTok became the most downloaded app in a single quarter, according to research firm Sensor Tower. Facebook, by comparison, had 256 million monthly users in the U.S. and Canada as of the end of June.
''TikTok has gone from being next-to-nothing to quite something in major Western markets in the last two years,'' said Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence at GroupM, a unit of WPP PLC.
While Facebook once acquired startups such as TikTok that it viewed as potential threats, scrutiny from antitrust authorities makes those deals more fraught for big tech companies, so they might look to other defensive measures instead, Mr. Wieser said. ''You might then in fact welcome more regulation or things that would limit the opportunities for upstarts,'' he said.
Facebook's Instagram unit this month launched its own video-sharing feature, called Reels, and is trying to poach TikTok creators by paying some users if they post videos exclusively to the new service.
TikTok's fate is up in the air. With the Trump administration's deadline looming,
Microsoft Corp. has said
it is negotiating to buy TikTok's U.S. operations, and at least
two other groups are believed
to be circling, involving
Twitter Inc. and
Oracle Corp.It is possible that TikTok ends up with one of those companies, immediately making the buyer a formidable U.S. rival to Facebook.
Facebook's advocacy has angered people inside TikTok, according to people familiar with the matter. Last month, CEO Kevin Mayer publicly accused Facebook of trying to unfairly quash competition.
''At TikTok, we welcome competition,'' he said in a blog post. ''But let's focus our energies on fair and open competition in service of our consumers, rather than maligning attacks by our competitor'--namely Facebook'--disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the U.S.''
Mr. Zuckerberg's arguments about TikTok show a reversal in his stance on China.
In 2010 he said he was planning to learn Mandarin, and he made several well-publicized trips to China over the years as Facebook explored the possibility of getting back into the world's most populous country, where it has been banned since 2009.
Those moves made Mr. Zuckerberg popular among many in China, but public opinion there has turned against him because of his recent comments, including at a congressional hearing about competition in July in which he said it was ''well documented that the Chinese government steals technology from U.S. companies.''
The Global Times, a publication linked to the Chinese Communist Party, this week said Mr. Zuckerberg was previously considered ''the people's son-in-law,'' but that his recent actions suggested that he was willing ''to set aside morality for profit.''
Mr. Zuckerberg saw TikTok's success coming. When its predecessor app in the U.S., Musical.ly, started to become popular among American teens in 2017, Facebook considered acquiring it, The Wall Street Journal has reported. Instead, Bytedance bought Musical.ly, and later rebranded it as TikTok.
In the October speech in Georgetown, Mr. Zuckerberg described TikTok as at odds with American values: ''On TikTok, the Chinese app growing quickly around the world, mentions of protests are censored, even in the U.S. Is that the internet we want?'' Mr. Zuckerberg said in his speech.
Days later, Mr. Zuckerberg reiterated his concerns about China during the White House dinner with Mr. Trump, the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Facebook board member Peter Thiel, who has been a backer of Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation.
Mr. Zuckerberg's team also reached out to members of Congress who are tough on China, according to people familiar with the meetings. He asked them why TikTok should be allowed to operate in the U.S., when many American companies, including his own, can't operate in China.
In November, Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), who also had met with Mr. Zuckerberg in September, said in a hearing that TikTok threatens the privacy of American children. ''For Facebook, the fear is lost social-media market share,'' he said. ''For the rest of us, the fear is somewhat different.''
Kelli Ford, a spokeswoman for Sen. Hawley, said the senator's concerns about TikTok predated the meeting with Mr. Zuckerberg. ''Facebook has recently been sounding the alarm about China-based tech as a PR tactic to boost its own reputation,'' she said.
Facebook declined to comment on Ms. Ford's remark.
'--Deepa Seetharaman and Michael C. Bender contributed to this article.
Write to Georgia Wells at Georgia.Wells@wsj.com, Jeff Horwitz at Jeff.Horwitz@wsj.com and Aruna Viswanatha at Aruna.Viswanatha@wsj.com
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Activision removes Tiananmen Square video from Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War trailer | PC Gamer
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:06
HomeNewsFPSCall Of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War
(Image credit: Activision)Last week, Activision confirmed the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops '' Cold War with a video built around a real-world interview with defector Yuri Bezmenov, in which he described a four-stage Soviet strategy dedicated to ending American dominance in the world: Demoralization, destabilization, crisis, and normalization. Clips of real-world historical events'--the Vietnam War, riots in the US, that sort of thing'--played throughout.
Earlier this week, that video was quietly deleted and replaced with one of roughly half the length. Activision gave no indication as to why the first trailer was removed, or even that it had happened, but according to South China Morning Post, it's because the original video contained a brief clip of footage from the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, an event that's heavily censored in China. The video was first replaced with one that had the clip blacked out, but at some point later the whole thing was replaced.
The original video is still available on YouTube from channels including IGN and Gamespot, and comparing them, you can see that much of Bezmenov's interview, including his breakdown of the four-point strategy, has also been cut. The trailer still begins with a warning that the US is "in a state of war" and a "slow process we call 'active measures'," but then moves straight into a warning about "a violent change of power, structure, and economy" that threatens the US. References to demoralization, destabilization, and crisis are gone, as is any mention of Perseus, the codename of a still-unknown Soviet spy who allegedly infiltrated the Manhattan Project.
The original trailer
According to a Hong Kong Daily report, the footage was first called out by Chinese internet users who accused Activision of "exporting ideology" and bringing "politics into videogames." China may be particularly sensitive to Tiananmen references now, the site added, because the current political and economic situation in China resembles that of 1989, ahead of the pro-democracy protests.
Despite the brevity of the clip, its removal could prove a headache for Activision: Blizzard, which is owned by Activision, took considerable heat last year for banning Hearthstone grandmaster Chung 'Blitzchung' Ng Wai, after he called for Hong Kong's freedom from China during a post-match interview.
There's also no mistaking the irony of active censorship in a promo trailer for a game whose tagline is, literally, "Know your history."
The new video
Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War is set to be fully revealed on August 26, but a leak that sprung today said it will be a direct sequel to the first game (we're not sure how that's going to work, since Black Ops 2 was also a direct sequel), with "iconic characters" Woods, Mason, and Hudson on the trail of the shadowy Perseus.
I've reached out to Activision for comment, and will update if I receive a reply.
Thanks, Kotaku.
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming'--the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.
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Vaccines and Such
Article '' Cannibal Billionaires: Harvesting Babies for Vaccines '' Round Table Report
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 11:07
The right is celebrating the defunding of most of the NIH's experiments using the body parts of murdered babies bought from Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, Congress is busy giving tens of BILLIONS of dollars more to develop a vaccine using patented cells harvested from aborted babies.
On 8/21/2020's show, David Knight reports, ''Back in 2015, David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress exposed Planned Parenthood trafficking aborted baby body parts. Kamala Harris, then California attorney general, didn't investigate Planned Parenthood, she went after Daleiden for exposing their crimes instead. But God works in mysterious ways, as part of this trial, it was uncovered that one of Planned Parenthood's biggest customers was none other than Fauci's NIH.''
''The NIH had approved 14 projects using body parts from aborted babies. The good news is that President Trump created a 'Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board' which stopped funding to 13 out of the 14 NIH projects. Though the 'ethics' committee doesn't want to get rid of all 14, they still want to use aborted baby body parts for that 14th one.'' Continued Knight
'''Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board', is that an oxymoron or what. How could there be anything ethical about the use of aborted human fetal tissue? What kind of an ethical screening would allow any of them to go through?''
''The left is hopping mad that Trump would defund 13 of the projects. A virologist at the University of Pittsburgh, Carolyn Coyne said, 'This is a ban disguised as an ethics committee.' They don't want law or ethics, if they can make a pragmatic case for it, or just pay off a politician, they'll get it. And if it's not taxpayer-funded, it's the same as banning it. She continues, 'So, the 'ethics' of research was decided by a largely Christian/Catholic, white panel.' Science Magazine points out that the University of Pittsburgh is another one of Planned parenthood's biggest customers along with the NIH.''
''Normally this would be good news, and I would be celebrating, but I'm not, and it's not only because one of them got through. At the same time these are being defunded, they're spending $30 billion for a vaccine made with aborted baby body parts. ''
''Let's talk a little about the vaccines from an ethical standpoint. AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, a couple of companies at the front of 'Operation Warp Speed', are making COVID vaccines using cells from aborted babies. I call it the 'cannibal vaccine', and it's being funded by the Trump Whitehouse. Trump is bragging about this, 'it's going to be huge', and he's spending a huge amount of money on it too. Congress has approved $20 billion more, in addition to the $10 billion we've already freely given them. We're paying for the development of these unethical cannibal vaccines that'll be forced on us. We'll be forced to buy them. too. Two $60 doses to start with.''
''They can patent the cells harvested from aborted babies, that's another reason they don't want you using your own stem cells.''
''So the good news is, they're stopping 13 of 14 nazi science experiments, I guess that means the new ethics board is 93% ethical. The bad news is, we're giving these people $30 billion to use aborted baby body parts to make the vaccines they'll be forcing on you,'' concluded Knight.
Coronavirus: Treatment hailed by Trump as 'breakthrough' is 'not conclusive', NHS says | UK News | Sky News
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 12:12
The NHS has said the use of blood plasma in treating COVID-19 patients is "not conclusive" - despite Donald Trump giving emergency authorisation for the "powerful therapy" in the US.
The president on Sunday announced the move to make it easier for some patients to obtain convalescent plasma, a treatment for which trials are still continuing.
Mr Trump hailed the "truly historic announcement" as a "major therapeutic breakthrough" in the battle against coronavirus.
Image: Blood plasma is taken from those who have recovered from COVID-19The use of convalescent plasma involves taking blood plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 - and is therefore rich in antibodies - and transfusing it to those fighting the disease.
It is a commonly-trialled treatment in the outbreak of new diseases, but the NHS said it was still unclear whether it worked with coronavirus patients.
"NHS Blood and Transplant is already collaborating with the wider NHS on world-leading treatment trials of convalescent plasma," a spokesperson said.
"The observational studies coming from America are promising and support the need for people to continue to donate convalescent plasma in England. However, they are not conclusive.
"Randomised control trials are the gold standard for determining the effectiveness of a new treatment.
"The UK is leading the world in setting up randomised controlled trials for COVID-19 convalescent plasma."
The NHS is urging people who have recovered from COVID-19 to offer to donate convalescent plasma.
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Mr Trump's announcement of emergency authorisation is not the same as full approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA's chief scientist, Denise Hinton, warned: "COVID-19 convalescent plasma should not be considered a new standard of care for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.
"Additional data will be forthcoming from other analyses and ongoing, well-controlled clinical trials in the coming months."
How to win a US electionSome health experts were sceptical about the timing of Mr Trump's announcement, which came on the eve of the Republican National Convention.
The convention is a key moment in the president's bid to remain in the White House for another four years.
It will see Mr Trump formally nominated as the Republican Party's candidate for November's presidential election.
The Financial Times reported on Monday that Mr Trump is considering fast-tracking approval of a possible Oxford University coronavirus vaccine so it can be used before the election.
US FDA-approved ointment found to treat, kill viral infections including Covid-19 - world news - Hindustan Times
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 14:17
A US pharma company has successfully tested a Food and Drug Administration-approved over the counter ointment as the first line of defence against the deadly coronavirus that has so far killed over eight lakh people globally.
Scientists associated with the project said the FDA-registered non-prescription over the counter (OTC) ointment has been proven to prevent, treat and kill viral infections including coronavirus. ''As per the lab report states, no infectious virus was detected after 30 seconds of T3X treatment,'' the pharma company said in a statement.
Follow latest updates on coronavirus here
''We believe this will be a breakthrough that will reduce the likelihood of becoming infected with coronavirus through the nose, which is where most cases are contracted,'' said Dr Brian Huber, CEO and founder of Advanced Penetration Technology, which is based out of Indiana and Texas.
''This is a big deal. It is the type of protection a lot of people have been hoping for and could be a first line of defence against the COVID virus. It is a powerful and effective layer of prevention,'' Huber said.
He was speaking after the company released the results of an independent laboratory evaluation of a topical medical formulation that mitigates coronavirus from entering the body through the nasal passages, thereby significantly reducing the likelihood of people becoming infected with the virus.
A recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) concluded that people contract Covid-19 and other viruses primarily through the nose. However, virus may still enter a body through the mouth and the eyes.
''T3X is an FDA registered, over-the-counter formulation, which means that no prescription is needed. It is easy to use and can be self-administered without the assistance of medical personnel or technicians,'' the company said. A London-based research laboratory, Virology Research Services Ltd, evaluated the anti-viral impact of the product, named APT' T3X, against Corona Virus (NL63) and Influenza A virus and concluded that it is a highly effective formulation against coronavirus, it said. The research concludes that APT' T3X effectively neutralises viral infectivity within seconds. The anti-viral efficacy supports the topical intranasal use of APT' T3X to decrease the viral load of exposure. ''Under the conditions tested, APT T3X displays a 99.9% virucidal activity against human coronavirus NL63,'' the company said.
Click here for complete coronavirus here
The testing was performed over two months, in May and June. All definitive anti-viral assays were performed in triplicate, it said.
The product was initially developed eight years ago for resistant-bacterial infections, but its formulation additionally provides powerful anti-fungal and anti-viral therapies. It has no documented side effects. However, patients diagnosed with Lyme disease should be aware of a potential ''Herx'' reaction shortly after use, the company said. A total of 22,864,873 people have contracted coronavirus globally so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University's Covid resource centre.
Convalescent plasma therapy - Mayo Clinic
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 21:14
OverviewConvalescent plasma (kon-vuh-LES-unt PLAZ-muh) therapy is an experimental treatment that some doctors are using for people with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
No drug has been proved to be safe and effective for treating COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't approved any drugs specifically to treat people with COVID-19.
But, people who've recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies '-- proteins the body uses to fight off infections '-- to the disease in their blood. The blood from people who've recovered is called convalescent plasma. Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood.
Researchers hope that convalescent plasma can be given to people with severe COVID-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus. It also might help keep people who are moderately ill from becoming more ill and experiencing COVID-19 complications.
If you've had COVID-19 and recovered from it, consider donating blood through the American Red Cross or your local donation center. Either can provide information about the donation process.
How to donate plasma Why it's doneConvalescent plasma therapy may be helpful for people with COVID-19 who aren't helped by other treatments. Some people with COVID-19 become very sick and don't respond to other treatments or drugs. These people often develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) '-- a severe lung condition. They often require mechanical assistance, such as a ventilator, to breathe. These people also are in danger of developing organ failure.
It could also help other people who may have a higher risk of serious illness, such as people with chronic medical conditions, for example, heart disease or diabetes, or those who have weakened immune systems. Convalescent plasma could help these people from getting sicker if they get COVID-19.
Convalescent plasma might also be considered for family members or health care workers who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to potentially prevent them from getting COVID-19.
Doctors may choose to enroll the person with COVID-19 in an expanded access program and order convalescent plasma for him or her. This type of program provides access to investigational new drugs outside of clinical trials. This type of program is sometimes necessary when a disease is very severe or life-threatening, and there is no available treatment.
Plasma donations needed for COVID-19 RisksBlood and plasma have been used to treat many other conditions, and they're usually very safe. The risk of contracting COVID-19 infection from receiving convalescent plasma therapy hasn't been tested yet. But researchers believe that the risk is very low because the plasma donor has fully recovered from the infection.
Convalescent plasma therapy carries the risk of:
Allergic reactionsLung damage and difficulty breathingTransmission of infections, including HIV and hepatitis B and CThe risk of these infections is very low, because donated blood must meet certain requirements outlined by the FDA. Before donated blood can be used, it must be tested for safety. It then goes through a process to separate out blood cells so that all that's left is plasma with antibodies.
Although many people experience no symptoms, others have mild to severe medical complications that lead to death in some people.
What you can expectYour doctor may consider you a candidate for convalescent plasma therapy if you're seriously ill with COVID-19 in the hospital. Your doctor will decide if it will be beneficial for you and may enroll you in the treatment program. If you or a family member has questions about convalescent plasma therapy, ask your doctor.
Your doctor will order convalescent plasma that is compatible with your blood type from your hospital's local blood supplier.
Before the procedureBefore convalescent plasma therapy, your health care team prepares you for the procedure. A health care team member inserts a sterile single-use needle connected to a tube (intravenous, or IV, line) into a vein in one of your arms.
During the procedureWhen the plasma arrives, the sterile plasma bag is attached to the tube and the plasma drips out of the bag and into the tube. It takes about one to two hours to complete the procedure.
After the procedureBecause this investigational therapy hasn't yet been tested, you'll be closely monitored after the convalescent plasma procedure.
Your doctor will record your response and reaction to the treatment. He or she may record how long you needed to stay in the hospital or if you needed help with breathing or other therapies following the convalescent plasma procedure.
ResultsIt's not yet known if convalescent plasma therapy will be an effective treatment for COVID-19. You might not experience any benefit.
However, this treatment might improve your ability to recover from the disease.
The collective results from people receiving convalescent plasma therapy can provide information about the effectiveness of the therapy and whether it can become an approved therapy to treat COVID-19. In preliminary treatment, many people have benefited from convalescent plasma therapy. Researchers continue to evaluate the results from people who received the therapy.
By studying results of this therapy for COVID-19, doctors are getting closer to finding a treatment. In addition, learning more about the use of convalescent plasma therapy now will help health care workers be better prepared to provide optimal patient care.
Coronavirus vaccine: Fauci warns against premature authorization - CNNPolitics
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 11:27
Washington(CNN) Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday warned against the notion of early emergency use authorization for a potential coronavirus vaccine, explaining that such a step could damage efforts to develop other vaccines.
His comments come as White House officials have raised the possibility of an early emergency authorization before late-stage trials are finished, two sources have told CNN. Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary for public affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services, has denied that there was any effort to fast-track vaccine development for political purposes.
Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, told Reuters that "the one thing that you would not want to see with a vaccine is getting an EUA before you have a signal of efficacy."
"One of the potential dangers if you prematurely let a vaccine out is that it would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the other vaccines to enroll people in their trial," he said.
Several vaccines are being tested in the US and companies are working to ramp up production while testing is going on, so that if a vaccine is proved safe and effective it could be distributed immediately.
President Donald Trump has promised that a vaccine would be available by the end of the year, though vaccinologists told CNN that timeline is unrealistic. And though Trump has commented that a vaccine could be ready "a lot sooner" than the end of the year, a senior administration official close to the coronavirus task force said the timeline for a vaccine remains the same and a vaccine is still expected late this year or early next year.
On Saturday, Trump also accused, without providing any evidence, the US Food and Drug Administration of deliberately delaying coronavirus vaccine trials.
"The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics," Trump tweeted, continuing to push his unfounded theory that there is a "deep state" embedded within the government bureaucracy working against his reelection.
He accused the agency of delaying a vaccine for the virus until after the fall election, tweeting, "Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!"
The comments won't allay the fears some experts and Americans have that the administration will rush to prepare a vaccine at the expense of science and safety. A CNN poll in May found one-third of Americans said they would not try to get vaccinated against Covid-19, even if the vaccine is widely available and low-cost.
"To me, it's absolutely paramount that you definitively show that a vaccine is safe and effective, both," Fauci told Reuters. "We would hope that nothing interferes with the full demonstration that a vaccine is safe and effective."
The White House's Sunday evening announcement about the FDA's emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma is only fueling more questions from medical experts about the safety and efficacy of any solutions Trump pushes.
Several top health officials had previously been skeptical there was enough data to justify emergency plasma authorization. Among those skeptics: Fauci, Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. H. Clifford Lane, who works under Fauci at the NIH, according to a knowledgeable source.
A prominent vaccine expert told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Sunday that the White House may have bullied the FDA into giving emergency use authorization for blood plasma.
"I think what's happening here is you're seeing bullying, at least at the highest level of the FDA, and I'm sure that there are people at the FDA right now who are the workers there that are as upset about this as I am," said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn has defended the emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma as data-driven.
CNN's Jim Acosta, Maggie Fox, Betsy Klein and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.
HUGE! UCLA Doctor Says Leronlimab Cures 2nd Phase of Coronavirus
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 11:48
Follow Matt on TwitterSome amazing news coming out of California, where a patient and doctor say they have found a cure for stage 2 coronavirus.
An Orange County woman is sharing her story of recovering from COVID-19 after receiving an experimental drug.
In early April, 55-year-old Samantha Mottet had left the hospital after a grueling battle with COVID-19.
She was critically ill on a ventilator in the ICU where they tried two experimental treatments that didn't work.
Her family then turned to Dr. Otto Yang from UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine, where he's leading a clinical trial of a drug called Leronlimab.
The drug was first developed to treat HIV but it is now being used as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
''I just feel incredibly blessed to be here today. It still gives me chills to think how close I was to death I was,'' said Mottet.
''Literally, 60 hours after being injected Leronlimab, I was off the ventilator,'' she said. ''After about three weeks, I'm back to normal. I'm riding my bike six miles a day, I'm back to riding my horse'...I feel like my life is the way it was before I had the coronavirus.''
Dr. Yang says Leronlimab is an artificial human antibody that works against the second phase of COVID-19. That's when the body's immune system overreacts in response to the virus and causes inflammation in the lungs, which makes it difficult to breathe.
''We saw quite a few of the patients seem to improve and a lot of physicians across the country that were using it had the same experience. However, those are not controlled studies. So, we don't have a comparison group, we don't have an exactly equal group that got no Leronlimab to be able to compare and say it definitely had an effect,'' Yang said.
Yang said controlled studies are underway and they'll have to see if it works on everybody or whether it works on just certain people.
''There's good scientific rationale for why it would work and I think a lot of us feel like there is strong circumstantial evidence that it does,'' said Yang.
''I truly believe in this drug, it saved my life,'' Mottet said.
Credit: CBS Los Angeles
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Teen takes on 'Big Pharma' over mandatory vaccine's side effects | WPRI.com
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 15:16
WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) '-- A Rhode Island teenager alleges fraud and deception were part of the formula to legalize a widely used vaccine that is mandatory in Rhode Island and a handful of other states.
Julia Balasco was 13 years old in 2014 when she received a first dose of Gardasil, a vaccine created to stop Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is linked to cervical cancer.
The following year, the general assembly passed a law that made HPV vaccinations mandatory for school-aged children.
Balasco claims she was hit with inexplicable side effects almost immediately after the first inoculation.
''Headaches, ear issues, tinnitus,'' Michaela Balasco said. ''After the second dose, the symptoms got much worse.''
Before the third dose was administered, the Balascos and their doctor suspected the vaccine caused the problems that continue six years later.
''It definitely still impacts me,'' Balasco said. ''I don't drive yet. It impacts my work life. My social life. It's been horrible.''
The Balascos six-count federal lawsuit filed in R.I. District Court last week alleges Gardasil manufacturer Merck and Company created ''a market for the vaccine out of thin air,'' and ''presented misleading data to the FDA,'' to gain approval in 2006.
Nicole Maldonado, the Balasco's attorney, said Merck was deceptive and negligent, and failed to warn anyone about the side effects.
''Merck was well aware of these adverse events associated with the vaccine but did nothing to disclose that,'' Maldonado said. ''They didn't tell doctors. Patients. No one.''
The lawsuit alleges Merck used scare tactics and financial incentives to convince state legislatures to make HPV vaccination mandatory.
Balasco's mother said the Gardasil ads impacted her family's decision.
''They have some really awful campaigns out there that will make a parent feel awful about not giving the vaccine to their children,'' Balasco said.
Her daughter said she wants her case to bring attention to the side effects she claims drastically changed her life.
''I'm trying to make sure everyone knows that they do have a choice and they shouldn't have the life I'm living,'' Balasco said.Gardasil does have FDA approval and the company has insisted the vaccine is safe.
Merck has not responded to requests for comment about the lawsuit and so far, has not filed an answer to the complaint with the court.
According to the lawsuit, Gardasil is ''crucial to Merck's overall financial health,'' pulling in $3.7 billion in revenue last year.
''Gardasil is Merck's most lucrative vaccine and its third-highest selling product,'' the filing said.
Balasco, who did not specify a dollar amount in her complaint, is asking for a jury trial.
Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.
Use of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalised COVID-19 patients is associated with reduced mortality: Findings from the observational multicentre Italian CORIST study - European Journal of Internal Medicine
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:10
Abstract BackgroundHydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was proposed as potential treatment for COVID-19.
ObjectiveWe set-up a multicenter Italian collaboration to investigate the relationship between HCQ therapy and COVID-19 in-hospital mortality.
MethodsIn a retrospective observational study, 3,451 unselected patients hospitalized in 33 clinical centers in Italy, from February 19, 2020 to May 23, 2020, with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, were analyzed. The primary end-point in a time-to event analysis was in-hospital death, comparing patients who received HCQ with patients who did not. We used multivariable Cox proportional-hazards regression models with inverse probability for treatment weighting by propensity scores, with the addition of subgroup analyses.
ResultsOut of 3,451 COVID-19 patients, 76.3% received HCQ. Death rates (per 1,000 person-days) for patients receiving or not HCQ were 8.9 and 15.7, respectively. After adjustment for propensity scores, we found 30% lower risk of death in patients receiving HCQ (HR=0.70; 95%CI: 0.59 to 0.84; E-value=1.67). Secondary analyses yielded similar results. The inverse association of HCQ with inpatient mortality was particularly evident in patients having elevated C-reactive protein at entry.
ConclusionsHCQ use was associated with a 30% lower risk of death in COVID-19 hospitalized patients. Within the limits of an observational study and awaiting results from randomized controlled trials, these data do not discourage the use of HCQ in inpatients with COVID-19.
Keywords HydroxychloroquineCOVID-19Disease severityMortalityInflammation 1. Introduction The aminoquinoline hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been extensively used in the treatment of malaria and is currently widely used to treat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and anti-phospholipid syndrome (APS), due to its immunomodulatory and anti-thrombotic properties [
1Shukla AM Wagle Shukla A Expanding horizons for clinical applications of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and related structural analogues.
]. More recently, a promising role of HCQ has been suggested in viral infections [
2Savarino A Boelaert JR Cassone A Majori G Cauda R Effects of chloroquine on viral infections: an old drug against today's diseases?.
], since it directly inhibits viral entry and spread in several
in vitro and
in vivo models. Due to these properties, HCQ has been used in Ebola virus disease [
3Dowall SD Bosworth A Watson R et al.Chloroquine inhibited Ebola virus replication in vitro but failed to protect against infection and disease in the in vivo guinea pig model.
,
4Akpovwa H. Chloroquine could be used for the treatment of filoviral infections and other viral infections that emerge or emerged from viruses requiring an acidic pH for infectivity.
], human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection [
5Savarino A Shytaj IL. Chloroquine and beyond: exploring anti-rheumatic drugs to reduce immune hyperactivation in HIV/AIDS.
], SARS-CoV-1 infection and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) [
6de Wilde AH Jochmans D Posthuma CC et al.Screening of an FDA-approved compound library identifies four small-molecule inhibitors of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus replication in cell culture.
,
7Devaux CA Rolain JM Colson P Raoult D New insights on the antiviral effects of chloroquine against coronavirus: what to expect for COVID-19?.
] and gained worldwide attention as a possible therapy in COVID-19 patients [
8Quiros Roldan E Biasiotto G Magro P Zanella I The possible mechanisms of action of 4-aminoquinolines (chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine) against Sars-Cov-2 infection (COVID-19): a role for iron homeostasis? [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 13].
].
HCQ might inhibit the intracellular glycosylation of ACE 2, the receptor used by the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter the cells, resulting in a reduced ligand recognition and internalization of the virus [
7Devaux CA Rolain JM Colson P Raoult D New insights on the antiviral effects of chloroquine against coronavirus: what to expect for COVID-19?.
] and exerting a possible protective role in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Moreover, due to its immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects, HCQ could also modulate the severity of the disease. However, the exact mechanism for the potential benefit in COVID-19 is largely speculative [
9Vincent MJ Bergeron E Benjannet S et al.Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread.
] and might be counterbalanced by adverse effects, mainly cardiovascular [
10Mercuro NJ Yen CF Shim DJ Maher TR McCoy CM Zimetbaum PJ Gold HS Risk of QT interval prolongation associated with use of hydroxychloroquine with or without concomitant azithromycin among hospitalized patients testing positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
,
11Saleh M Gabriels J Chang D et al.The effect of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin on the corrected QT interval in patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection.
], so that the net balance of this drug's use remains to be established.
The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed Chloroquine (CQ) phosphate and HCQ to be provided to certain hospitalized patients because these drugs may possibly help patients with severe COVID-19 [
12 Food and Drug Aministration (FDA)Fact sheet for health care providers: emergency use authorization (EUA) of hydroxychloroquine sulfate supplied from the strategic national stockpile for treatment of COVID-19 in certain hospitalized patients.
]. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorized the use of CQ and HCQ for COVID-19 in clinical trials or as emergency use [
], while the Italian Drug Agency (AIFA) stated in this emergency phase that therapeutic use of HCQ might be considered in COVID-19 patients, both in those with mild presentation managed at home and in hospitalized patients [
]. In clinical practice, HCQ rather than chloroquine has been used because of its more potent antiviral properties and better safety profile [
15Yao X Ye F Zhang M et al.In vitro antiviral activity and projection of optimized dosing design of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of severe acute respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
].
However, in the light of a recent publication [
16Mehra MR Desai SS Ruschitzka F Patel AN Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis.
], that was later retracted [
17Mehra MR Ruschitzka F Patel AN Retraction-Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis [retraction of: Lancet. 2020 May 22;:].
], on the lack of safety and efficacy of HCQ in the treatment for COVID-19 patients the Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial decided to implement a temporary pause of the HCQ arm within the trial as a precaution, while the safety data is being reviewed [
]. Similarly, the Italian drug Agency AIFA decided to suspend the authorization to use HCQ for COVID-19 treatment outside clinical trials [
].
Recent reviews of clinical trials or observational studies [
20Chowdhury MS Rathod J Gernsheimer J A rapid systematic review of clinical trials utilizing chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.
,
21Cortegiani A Ingoglia G Ippolito M Giarratano A Einav S A systematic review on the efficacy and safety of chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.
,
22Shah S Das S Jain A Misra DP Negi VS A systematic review of the prophylactic role of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19).
,
23Das S Bhowmick S Tiwari S Sen S An updated systematic review of the therapeutic role of hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 28].
,
24Hernandez AV Roman YM Pasupuleti V Barboza JJ White CM Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for treatment or prophylaxis of COVID-19: a living systematic review [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 27].
] have reported insufficient and often conflicting evidence on the benefits and harms of using HCQ to treat COVID-19 and concluded that as such, it was impossible to determine the balance of benefits to harm. Until now, although several trials had been started on the use of CQ and HCQ in COVID-19, only few of them have been published [
25Tang W Cao Z Han M et al.Hydroxychloroquine in patients with mainly mild to moderate coronavirus disease 2019: open label, randomised controlled trial.
] on small numbers of patients or on surrogate endpoints or in exposed subjects for prophylaxis use [
26Boulware DR Pullen MF Bangdiwala AS et al.A randomized trial of hydroxychloroquine as postexposure prophylaxis for covid-19 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 3].
].
While waiting the results from ongoing randomized clinical trials (RCT) to define the efficacy in preventing hard endpoints of this treatment so widely used during the emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, powered retrospective observational studies performed in different geographical and disease conditions may still be useful to shed light on this debate. Two retrospective observational studies, both conducted in the New York metropolitan region, did not report any significant association between HCQ use and rates of intubation or death [
27Geleris J Sun Y Platt J et al.Observational study of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized patients with covid-19.
,
28Rosenberg ES Dufort EM Udo T et al.Association of treatment with hydroxychloroquine or azithromycin with in-hospital mortality in patients with COVID-19 in New York State [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 11].
].
No data are presently available from large cohorts of patients in Italy, which represents one of the most affected countries in terms of total deaths for COVID-19 in the world [
]. We undertook a multicenter Italian collaboration [
30Di Castelnuovo A De Caterina R de Gaetano G Iacoviello L Controversial relationship between renin-angiotensin system inhibitors and severity of COVID-19: announcing a large multicentre case-control study in Italy [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 8].
] to investigate the relationship between underlying risk factors and COVID-19 outcomes, and to evaluate the association between different drug therapy and disease severity and/or mortality. We report here the results obtained in 3,451 hospitalized COVID -19 patients receiving or not HCQ treatment.
2. Material and methods 2.1 Setting This national retrospective observational study was conceived, coordinated and analysed within the CORIST Project (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT04318418, 30]. The study was approved by the institutional ethics board of the Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS) Neuromed, Pozzilli, and of all recruiting centres. Data for the present analyses were provided by 33 hospitals distributed throughout Italy (listed in the supplementary file). Acceptance to participate in the project or to provide data for the present analysis was not related to the use of CQ/HCQ. Each hospital provided data from hospitalized patients who had a positive test result for the SARS-CoV-2 virus at any time during their hospitalization from February 19 to May 23, 2020. The follow-up continued through May 29, 2020.
2.2 Data sources We developed a cohort comprising 3,971 patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in an in-patient setting. The SARS-CoV-2 status was declared based on laboratory results (polymerase chain reaction on nasopharyngeal swab) from each participating hospital. Clinical data were abstracted at one-time point from electronic medical records or charts, and were collected using either a centrally designed electronic worksheet or a centralized web-based database. Collected data included patients' demographics, laboratory test results, medication administration, historical and current medication lists, historical and current diagnoses, and clinical notes. In addition, specific information on the most severe manifestation of COVID-19 occurred during hospitalization was retrospectively captured. Maximum clinical severity observed was classified as mild pneumonia; or severe pneumonia; or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) [
]. Specifically, we obtained the following information for each patient: hospital; date of admission and date of discharge or death; age; sex; the first recorded inpatient laboratory tests at the entry (creatinine, C-reactive protein); past and current diagnoses (myocardial infarction, heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, respiratory disease and cancer) and current drug therapies for COVID-19 '' HCQ, lopinavir/ritonavir or darunavir/cobicistat, remdesevir, tocilizumab or sarilumab, corticosteroids, heparin, and for comorbidities (insulin, anti-hypertensive treatments, aldosterone receptor antagonists, diuretics, statins, sacubitril/valsartan). A diagnosis of pre-existing cardiovascular disease was based on history of myocardial infarction or heart failure. Chronic kidney disease was classified as: stage 1: kidney damage with normal or increased glomerular filtration rate (GFR) (>90 mL/min/1.73 m
2); stage 2: mild reduction in GFR (60-89 mL/min/1.73 m
2); stage 3a: moderate reduction in GFR (45-59 mL/min/1.73 m
2); stage 3b: moderate reduction in GFR (30-44 mL/min/1.73 m
2); stage 4: severe reduction in GFR (15-29 mL/min/1.73 m
2); stage 5: kidney failure (GFR <15 mL/min/1.73 m
2 or dialysis). For statistical analysis, stages 3a and 3b and stages 4 and 5 were combined. GFR was calculated by the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-Epi) equation. Patients were defined as receiving HCQ if they were receiving it at admission to hospital or received it during the follow-up period. According to the AIFA guidance [
], HCQ was administered at dose of 400 mg x 2/day or x4/day the first day, and 200 mg x 2/day from the second day onwards for at least 5 to a maximum of 10 days, according to the clinical evolution of the disease.
2.3 Statistical analysis The study index date was defined as the date of hospital admission. Index dates ranged from February 19, 2020 to May 23, 2020. The study end point was the time from study index to death. The number of patients who either died, or had been discharged alive, or were still admitted to hospital as of May 29, 2020, were recorded, and hospital length of stay was determined. Patients alive had their data censored on the date of discharge or as the date of the respective clinical data collection. Data were censored at 35 days of follow up in n=330 (8.3%) patients with a follow up greater than 35 days.
Of the initial cohort of 3,971 patients, 350 patients were excluded from the analysis because they had at least one missing data at baseline or lost to follow up on HCQ use (N=94), other drug therapies for COVID-19 (n=265), time to event (n=59), outcome (death/alive, n=8), COVID-19 severity (n=4), age (n=4 with missing data and n=2 with age<18 years) or sex (n=2). Of the remaining 3,621 patients, 170 patients died or were discharged within 24 hours after presentation, and were also excluded from the analysis.
At the end, the analysed cohort consisted of n=3,451 patients. In patients not included in the analysis (n=520), as unique difference with the analysed group, the prevalence of diabetics (19.9% vs 14.8%, P=0.0066) and, to a less extent, of men (62.3% vs 58.3%, P=0.081) was higher. Out of 3,541 patients, 295 (8.5%) had at least a missing value for covariates. Distribution of missing values was as follows: n=178 for C-reactive protein; n=69 for GFR; n=74 for history of ischemic disease; n=64 for history of chronic pulmonary disease; n=51 for diabetes; n=51 for hypertension and n=56 for cancer. We used multiple imputation techniques (SAS PROC MI, n=10 imputed datasets; and PROC MIANALYZE) to maximize data availability. As sensitivity analysis, we also conducted a case-complete analysis on 3,156 patients.
Cox proportional-hazards regression models were used to estimate the association between HCQ use and death. Since multiple imputation was applied, the final standard error was obtained using the Rubin's rule based on the robust variance estimator in Cox regression [
32Rubin DB. Multiple imputation for nonresponse in surveys.
]. The proportional hazards assumption was assessed using weighed Schoenfeld residuals, and no violation was identified. To account for the non-randomized HCQ administration and to reduce the effects of confounding, the propensity-score method was used. The individual propensities for receiving HCQ treatment were assessed with the use of a multivariable logistic-regression model that included age, sex, diabetes, hypertension, history of ischemic heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease, GFR, C-reactive protein, hospitals clustering and use of other drug therapies for COVID-19 (lopinavir/ritonavir or darunavir/cobicistat, remdesivir, corticosteroids, tocilizumab or sarilumab). Associations between HCQ treatment and death was then appraised by multivariable Cox regression models with the use of propensity-score and further controlling for hospitals clustering as random effect (frailty model). The use of a frailty model was chosen as suggested in [
33Glidden DV Vittinghoff E. Modelling clustered survival data from multicentre clinical trials.
]. The primary analysis used inverse probability by treatment weighting; the predicted probabilities from the propensity-score model was used to calculate the stabilized inverse-probability-weighting weight [
34Garrido MM Kelley AS Paris J et al.Methods for constructing and assessing propensity scores.
]. Stabilized weights were normalized so that they added up the actual sample size. Secondary analyses used propensity-score stratification (n=5 strata) or multivariable Cox regression analysis or multivariable logistic regression analyses comparing death versus alive patients, or accounted for hospitals clustering via stratification or by robust sandwich estimator. Pre-established subgroup analyses were conducted according to age or sex of patients, degree of COVID-19 severity experienced during the hospital stay, C-reactive protein at basal or other drug therapies for COVID-19. Hospitals were clustered according to their geographical distribution, as illustrated in
Table 1. To quantify the potential for an unmeasured confounder to render apparent statistically significant hazard ratio non-significant, the E-value was calculated [
35VanderWeele TJ Ding P. Sensitivity analysis in observational research: introducing the e-value.
]. Analyses were performed with the aid of the SAS version 9.4 statistical software for Windows.
Table 1 General characteristics of COVID-19 patients at baseline, according to hydroxychloroquine use.
(n) include hospitals of Novara, Monza, Varese, Pavia, Cremona and Padova; (m) include Humanitas Clinical and Research Hospital, Centro Cardiologico Monzino, and hospitals of San Donato Milanese (Milano) and Cinisello Balsamo (Milano); (c) include hospitals of Modena, Ravenna, Forl¬, Firenze, Pisa, Chieti and Pescara; (r) include National Institute for Infectious Diseases ''L. Spallanzani'' and Universit Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; (s) include hospital of Napoli, Pozzilli (Isernia), Acquaviva delle Fonti (Bari), Foggia, Taranto, Catanzaro, Catania and Palermo
*Chi-square test. **Stage 1: Kidney damage with normal or increased glomerular filtration rate (GFR) (>90 mL/min/1.73 m2); Stage 2: Mild reduction in GFR (60-89 mL/min/1.73 m2); Stage 3a: Moderate reduction in GFR (45-59 mL/min/1.73 m2); Stage 3b: Moderate reduction in GFR (30-44 mL/min/1.73 m2); Stage 4: Severe reduction in GFR (15-29 mL/min/1.73 m2); Stage 5: Kidney failure (GFR < 15 mL/min/1.73 m2 or dialysis).
Open table in a new tab 3. Results We included in the final current analyses 3,451 patients who were hospitalized with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection at 33 clinical centres across Italy and either died, had been discharged, or were still in hospital as of May 29, 2020. Of these patients, 2,634 (76.3%, range among hospitals 53.2% to 93.6%) received HCQ. Timing of the first dose of HCQ after presentation to the hospital was 1 day for the large majority of centres, and 2 to 3 days for the others. HCQ was administered in all centres at the dose of 400 mg/day (in one centre however it was used at the dose of 600 mg/day and in another at the dose of 600 mg/day but only in patients younger than 65 years). Duration of treatment ranged from 5 to 15 days (with 10 days as the modal value). The drug used was HCQ in all hospitals.
Baseline characteristics according to HCQ use are shown in
Table 1. Patients receiving HCQ were more likely younger, men and had higher levels of C-reactive protein and less likely had ischemic heart disease, cancer or stages 3a or greater chronic kidney disease (
Table 1). Patients receiving HCQ more likely received another drug for COVID-19 treatment (78.4%; lopinavir/ritonavir or darunavir/cobicistat, remdesevir, tocilizumab or sarilumab, corticosteroids), in comparison with non-HCQ patients (46.3%; P<0.0001;
Table 1).
The unadjusted differences and difference
s adjusted by propensity scores between HCQ-treated and non-HCQ treated patients for each variable included in the propensity score are shown in
Fig. 1. All the pre-treatment differences disappeared after adjustment by propensity score weighting. The C-statistic of the propensity-score model was 0.74.
Fig. 1 The unadjusted standardized differences and standardized differences adjusted by propensity scores between HCQ-treated and non-HCQ treated patients for the variables included in the propensity score. All differences for the matched observations are within the recommended limits of ''0.25 and 0.25, which are indicated by reference lines.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT) 3.1 Primary outcome Out of 3,628 patients, 576 died (16.7%), 2,390 were discharged alive (69.3%) and 485 (14.1%) were still at the hospital. The median follow-up was 14 days (interquartile range 8 to 22; range 2 to 35; 55,388 person-days). Death rate (per 1,000 person-days) was 8.9 in HCQ and 15.7 in non-HCQ patients (
Table 2). At univariable analysis, hazard ratio for mortality was 0.56 (95%CI: 0.47 to 0.67). In the primary multivariable analysis with inverse probability weighting according to the propensity score, HCQ use was associated with a 30% (95%CI: 16% to 41%) reduction in death risk (
Fig. 2,
Table 2, E-value=1.67). Secondary multivariable analyses yielded very similar results (
Table 2), as well as case-complete analyses restricted to the 3,156 patients without missing data (
Table 2). Considering secondary multivariable analyses overall, HR for mortality associated with HCQ ranged between 0.64 to 0.70, according to type of analyses. Control of hospitals clustering with different approaches also yielded similar results for the primary analysis (HR=0.71, 95%CI: 0.59 to 0.85 when hospitals clustering was stratified for and HR=0.69, 95%CI: 0.54 to 0.88 with the robust sandwich estimator).
Table 2 Incidence rates and hazard ratios for death in COVID-19 patients, according to hydroxychloroquine use.
Abbreviations: HR, hazard ratios; CI, confidence intervals. *Controlling for age, sex, diabetes, hypertension, history of ischemic heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, C-reactive protein, lopinavir/ritonavir or darunavir/cobicistat, tocilizumab or sarilumab, remdesivir or corticosteroids use as fixed effects and hospitals clustering as random effect. **Including hospitals clustering as random effect covariate.
Open table in a new tab Fig. 2 Survival curves according to hydroxychloroquine use. The curves are adjusted by propensity score analysis (inverse probability for treatment weighting) and hospital index as random effect, and are generated using the first imputed dataset. The other imputed datasets are similar and thus omitted.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)Subgroup analyses are presented in
Table 3. HCQ use remained consistently associated with reduced mortality in almost all subgroups. The inverse association of HCQ with inpatient mortality is slightly more evident in women, elderly and in patients who experienced a higher degree of COVID-19 severity. It was absent in-patient with C-reactive protein <10 mg/L and clearly confined to patients with elevated C-reactive protein (
Table 3).
Table 3 Hazard ratios for mortality according to hydroxychloroquine use in different subgroups
Abbreviations: HR, hazard ratios; CI, confidence intervals; *Propensity score analysis, inverse probability weighting, including hospital clustering as random effect covariate; multiple imputed analysis.
^Lopinavir/ritonavir or darunavir/cobicistat or tocilizumab or sarilumab or remdesivir or corticosteroids.
**Missing data for N=178. Frequencies and hazard ratios are based on a case complete analysis (N=3,273) without missing data for C-reactive Protein; multiple imputed analysis (N=3,451) yielded very similar results.
Open table in a new tab 4. Discussion In a large cohort of 3,451 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in 33 clinical centers all over Italy, covering almost completely the period of the hospitalization for COVID-19, the use of HCQ was associated with a significant better survival. In-hospital crude death rate was 8.9 per 1,000 person-day for patients receiving HCQ and 15.7 for those who did not. After adjustment for known possible confounders, we observed a 30% reduction in the risk of death in patients receiving HCQ therapy as compared with those who did not.
Our findings provide clinical evidence in support of guidelines by Italian and several international Societies suggesting to use HCQ therapy in patients with COVID-19. However, the observed associations should be considered with caution, as the observational design of our study does not allow to fully excluding the possibility of residual confounders. Large randomized clinical trials in well-defined geographical and socio-economic conditions and in well-characterized COVID-19 patients, should evaluate the role of HCQ before any firm conclusion can be reached regarding a potential benefit of this drug in patients with COVID-19.
Over 76% of patients received HCQ either alone or in combination with other drugs. They were more likely to be younger, men and with higher levels of C reactive protein at entry, while less likely had pre-existing comorbidities such as ischemic heart disease, cancer and severe chronic kidney disease, as compared to patients not receiving the drug. We adjusted our analyses for possible confounders, including age, sex, diabetes, hypertension, history of ischemic heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, C-reactive protein and additional treatments for COVID-19, and took into account possible differences across centres by either adjustment or stratification. To minimize bias due to the observational design, we used different analytical approaches aiming at creating an overall balance between comparison groups. Finally, we tried to limit bias due to missing data by using a multiple imputation approach, but in no case, the result was changed. Despite all these precautions, we recognize the possibility, however, of residual unmeasured confounders affecting results.
Systematic reviews of small clinical trials had reported contrasting results that were however scarcely reliable because of poor designs [
20Chowdhury MS Rathod J Gernsheimer J A rapid systematic review of clinical trials utilizing chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.
,
21Cortegiani A Ingoglia G Ippolito M Giarratano A Einav S A systematic review on the efficacy and safety of chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.
,
22Shah S Das S Jain A Misra DP Negi VS A systematic review of the prophylactic role of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19).
,
23Das S Bhowmick S Tiwari S Sen S An updated systematic review of the therapeutic role of hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 28].
,
24Hernandez AV Roman YM Pasupuleti V Barboza JJ White CM Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for treatment or prophylaxis of COVID-19: a living systematic review [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 27].
,
25Tang W Cao Z Han M et al.Hydroxychloroquine in patients with mainly mild to moderate coronavirus disease 2019: open label, randomised controlled trial.
]. The HCQ doses tested in a Chinese randomized clinical trial [
25Tang W Cao Z Han M et al.Hydroxychloroquine in patients with mainly mild to moderate coronavirus disease 2019: open label, randomised controlled trial.
] were approximately double as compared to that used in our study (1200 mg vs 800 mg as loading dose, 800 mg vs 400 mg as maintenance dose) for twice the time (14-21 days versus 7-10 days). National guidelines in Italy suggest to use HCQ 200 mg twice daily for at least 5-7 days in patients over 70 years and/or with co-morbidities (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease) even with mild respiratory symptoms or with radiographically documented pneumonia or in severe patients [
]. The lower doses of HCQ used in our centers, as suggested by Italian official guidelines [
,
], may have been both more effective and safer.
Two recently published large observational studies, both from large hospitals in New York City, showed no association between HCQ use and in-hospital mortality [
27Geleris J Sun Y Platt J et al.Observational study of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized patients with covid-19.
,
28Rosenberg ES Dufort EM Udo T et al.Association of treatment with hydroxychloroquine or azithromycin with in-hospital mortality in patients with COVID-19 in New York State [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 11].
], and deserve specific discussion. In the study of Geleris et al. [
27Geleris J Sun Y Platt J et al.Observational study of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized patients with covid-19.
], the percentage use of HCQ was lower than in Italy; moreover, in both US studies [
27Geleris J Sun Y Platt J et al.Observational study of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized patients with covid-19.
,
28Rosenberg ES Dufort EM Udo T et al.Association of treatment with hydroxychloroquine or azithromycin with in-hospital mortality in patients with COVID-19 in New York State [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 11].
] the drug was more frequently administered to patients with previous illnesses and a more severe presentation of the disease. Our cohort included milder pneumonia patients than the US population, due to between-country differences in indications to the drug for the beginning of therapy (
e.g., mild pneumonia in Italy versus only severe pneumonia and ARDS in the US). Concomitant use of other drugs for COVID-19 was very low in one study [
27Geleris J Sun Y Platt J et al.Observational study of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized patients with covid-19.
] and was not reported in the other study [
28Rosenberg ES Dufort EM Udo T et al.Association of treatment with hydroxychloroquine or azithromycin with in-hospital mortality in patients with COVID-19 in New York State [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 11].
]. In our cohort, patients receiving HCQ were more likely treated with another drug for COVID-19 treatment (78.4%), in comparison with non-HCQ patients (46.3%). Anyway, our findings are adjusted for concomitant other drugs use.
While the US studies were confined to one hospital only or a defined relatively small area in the Country, our study included 33 hospitals distributed all over Italy, covering regions with a high number of cases and a high intra-hospital mortality and regions with a lower burden of the disease. The participating Italian clinical centers have different healthcare facilities, different size, specialization, and ownership, and therefore quite closely represent the real-life Italian approach to COVID-19. Moreover, they differed for the percentage of use of HCQ and for the rate of in-hospital mortality that ranged between 34.1 and 1.5 per 1,000 persons/day. To consider this variability, we adjusted the analysis for recruiting center and performed a number of subgroup analyses. In all circumstances, the association between HCQ use and a reduced risk of death of about 30% was maintained. Quite interestingly, the inverse association of HCQ with inpatient mortality was more evident in elderly, in patients who experienced a higher degree of COVID-19 severity or especially having elevated C-reactive protein, suggesting that the anti-inflammatory potential of HCQ may have had more important role rather than its antiviral properties. HCQ, indeed, beside an antiviral activity, may have both anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects [
8Quiros Roldan E Biasiotto G Magro P Zanella I The possible mechanisms of action of 4-aminoquinolines (chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine) against Sars-Cov-2 infection (COVID-19): a role for iron homeostasis? [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 13].
]. This can justify its effect in reducing mortality risk, since Sars-Cov-2 can induce pulmonary microthrombi and coagulopathy, that are a possible cause of its severity [
37McGonagle D Sharif K O'Regan A Bridgewood C The role of cytokines including interleukin-6 in covid-19 induced pneumonia and macrophage activation syndrome-like disease.
,
38Thachil J. The versatile heparin in COVID-19.
] and the lack in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection after exposure [
26Boulware DR Pullen MF Bangdiwala AS et al.A randomized trial of hydroxychloroquine as postexposure prophylaxis for covid-19 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 3].
]
Nevertheless, large randomized clinical trials on the efficacy of HCQ on hard end-points are still lacking and the largest observational study showing no effect in reducing mortality has been retracted [
16Mehra MR Desai SS Ruschitzka F Patel AN Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis.
,
17Mehra MR Ruschitzka F Patel AN Retraction-Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis [retraction of: Lancet. 2020 May 22;:].
], Agencies have suspended clinical trials on the efficacy of HCQ on COVID-19 disease or have restricted its use only to patients included in clinical trials, in the absence of an ample, serene and balanced discussion at international level.
Very recently, a large RCT has become available as a pre-print publication [
39Horby P Mafham M Linsell L et al.Effect of Hydroxychloroquine in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19: preliminary results from a multi-centre, randomized, controlled trial.
], reporting no beneficial effect of HCQ in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. However, the dose of HCQ used in that trial was almost the double of that administered in our real life conditions. A reduced mortality was also observed by other observational studies using low or intermediate doses of HCQ [
40Arshad S Kilgore P Chaudhry ZS et al.Treatment with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and combination in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
,
41Lagier JC Million M Gautret P et al.Outcomes of 3,737 COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin and other regimens in Marseille, France: A retrospective analysis [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 25].
],
Moreover, in our study patients taking HCQ more frequently received other anti-COVID drugs, whose interaction in reducing mortality cannot be completely ruled-out. Of note, despite the higher dosage used, the RCT did not show any excess in ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation in the HCQ arm (39.
Therefore, it will be very important to compare results of studies with different mode of use and doses of HCQ, different characteristics of treated and untreated patients and different academic or real-world conditions.
4.1 Strengths and limitations A major strength of this study is the large, unselected patient sample from 33 hospitals, covering the entire Italian territory. Patient sampling covered all the overt epidemic period in Italy. Several statistical approaches were used to overcome biases due to the observational nature of the investigation.
This study has however, several recognized limitations. The study population pertains to Italy, and the results obtained may not be applicable to other populations with a possibly different geographical and socio-economic conditions and natural history of COVID-19. Due to the retrospective nature of the study, some parameters were not available in all patients, and all in-hospital medications might have been not fully recorded. Moreover, although guidelines on the use of HCQ in COVID-19 patients had been published in Italy since the first phase of the pandemic, individual centers could have deviated from recommendations and used different doses or treatment schemes. We have no information on the HCQ doses used individually nor of their possible association with azithromycin. Moreover, adverse events possibly related to drug therapy were not collected, thus we cannot exclude bias due to therapy interruption because of side effects; we do not know whether some deaths could have been due to cardiovascular complications of HCQ. However, recent data on Italian wards showed that COVID-19 patients receiving HCQ and azithromycin had a QTc-interval longer than before therapy, but did not experience, during their hospital stay, any arrhythmic complications, such as syncope or life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias [
42Cipriani A Zorzi A Ceccato D et al.Arrhythmic profile and 24-hour QT interval variability in COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 19].
], a finding also reported by the RCT mentioned above (39).
Finally, the possibility of unmeasured residual confounding cannot be completely ruled-out. However, the E-value for the lower boundary of the confidence interval of our main result is 1.67, indicating that the confidence interval could be moved to include the null by a strong unmeasured confounder associated with both HCQ treatment and death with a risk ratio of 1.67-fold for each, above and beyond all the measured confounders. Weaker confounders, however, could not do so.
5. Conclusions Our study, including a large real life sample of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 all over Italy, shows that HCQ use (200 mg twice/day) was associated with a 30% reduction of overall in-hospital mortality. In the absence of clear-cut results from controlled, randomized clinical trials, our data do not discourage the use of HCQ in inpatients with COVID-19. Given the observational design of our study, however, these results should be transferred with caution to clinical practice.
Source of funding None.
CRediT authorship contribution statement Augusto Di Castelnuovo: Conceptualization, Data curation, Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing, Writing - original draft. Simona Costanzo: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Andrea Antinori: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Nausicaa Berselli: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Lorenzo Blandi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Raffaele Bruno: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Roberto Cauda: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Giovanni Guaraldi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Lorenzo Menicanti: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Ilaria My: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Giustino Parruti: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Giuseppe Patti: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Stefano Perlini: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesca Santilli: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Carlo Signorelli: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Enrico Spinoni: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Giulio G. Stefanini: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing, Formal analysis. Alessandra Vergori: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Walter Ageno: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Antonella Agodi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Luca Aiello: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Piergiuseppe Agostoni: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Samir Al Moghazi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Marinella Astuto: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Filippo Aucella: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Greta Barbieri: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Alessandro Bartoloni: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Marialaura Bonaccio: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Paolo Bonfanti: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesco Cacciatore: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Lucia Caiano: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesco Cannata: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Laura Carrozzi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Antonio Cascio: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Arturo Ciccullo: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Antonella Cingolani: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesco Cipollone: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Claudia Colomba: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesca Crosta: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Chiara Dal Pra: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Gian Battista Danzi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Damiano D'Ardes: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Katleen de Gaetano Donati: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing, Writing - original draft. Paola Del Giacomo: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesco Di Gennaro: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Giuseppe Di Tano: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Giampiero D'Offizi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Tommaso Filippini: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesco Maria Fusco: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Ivan Gentile: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Alessandro Gialluisi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Giancarlo Gini: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Elvira Grandone: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Leonardo Grisafi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Gabriella Guarnieri: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Silvia Lamonica: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesco Landi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Armando Leone: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Gloria Maccagni: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Sandro Maccarella: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Andrea Madaro: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Massimo Mapelli: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Riccardo Maragna: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Lorenzo Marra: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Giulio Maresca: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Claudia Marotta: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Franco Mastroianni: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing, Methodology. Maria Mazzitelli: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Alessandro Mengozzi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesco Menichetti: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Marianna Meschiari: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Filippo Minutolo: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Arturo Montineri: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Roberta Mussinelli: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Cristina Mussini: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Maria Musso: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Anna Odone: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Marco Olivieri: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing, Software. Emanuela Pasi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesco Petri: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Biagio Pinchera: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Carlo A. Pivato: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Venerino Poletti: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Claudia Ravaglia: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Massimo Rinaldi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Andrea Rognoni: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Marco Rossato: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Ilaria Rossi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Marianna Rossi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Anna Sabena: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Francesco Salinaro: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Vincenzo Sangiovanni: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Carlo Sanrocco: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Laura Scorzolini: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Raffaella Sgariglia: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Paola Giustina Simeone: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Michele Spinicci: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Enrico Maria Trecarichi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Amedeo Venezia: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Giovanni Veronesi: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing, Formal analysis. Roberto Vettor: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Andrea Vianello: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Marco Vinceti: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Laura Vocciante: Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Raffaele De Caterina: Conceptualization, Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing, Writing - original draft. Licia Iacoviello: Conceptualization, Data curation, Investigation, Investigation, Supervision, Writing - review & editing, Writing - original draft.
Declaration of Competing InterestsNone.
Acknowledgments We thank the participating clinical centres included in this cohort. This Article is dedicated to all the patients who suffered or died, often in solitude, due to COVID-19; their tragic fate gave us moral strength to initiate and complete this research.
The Authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this Article. They do not necessarily represent the views, decisions, or policies of the Institutions with which they are affiliated.
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Coronavirus: Madagascar President Rajoelina hits out at tonic 'detractors' - BBC News
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:43
image copyright AFP
image caption Mr Rajoelina says if a European country had manufactured the tonic the West's reaction would be differentMadagascar's President Andry Rajoelina has said criticism of an untested herbal tonic that he is touting as a treatment for Covid-19 shows the West's condescending attitude towards Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against using untested remedies.
Mr Rajoelina's tonic has not gone through clinical trials.
The African Union has also said it wanted to see the scientific data on the "safety and efficacy" of the product, known as Covid-Organics.
"If it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt? I don't think so,"
Mr Rajoelina said in an interview with French news channel, France 24..
Madagascar has reported 193 Covid-19 cases and no deaths.
The tonic was tried out on fewer than 20 people over three weeks, a presidential aide told the BBC, when the product was first launched last month - which is not in line with WHO guidelines on clinical trials.
image copyright AFP
image caption Until a vaccine is found, the WHO says testing and contact tracing is the best way to contain the virusDespite the reservations, several African countries, including Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and Liberia, have already ordered Covid-Organics, which is produced from the artemisia plant - the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment - and other Malagasy plants.
WHO has said Africans deserved access to medicines that have gone through proper trials even if they are derived from traditional treatments.
But there is no peer-reviewed data to show that Covid-Organics is effective.
A meeting of 70 experts on African traditional medicine has agreed that clinical trials for all medicines must be carried out, the WHO's Africa region has tweeted.
There has also been warning from experts that the drink could give people a false sense of security which could lead people to expose themselves to the virus.
Last week, more than $8bn (£6.5bn) was pledged to help develop a coronavirus vaccine and fund research into the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Dozens of research projects trying to find a vaccine are currently under way across the world.
Most experts think it could take until mid-2021, about 12-18 months after the new virus first emerged, for a vaccine to become available.
You may also be interested in:
media caption Coronavirus: How Covid-19 is affecting remittances to AfricaSeveral African countries acted swiftly in trying to prevent the spread of coronavirus by imposing lockdowns or curfews. But these are now beginning to be lifted as governments try to balance health and economic interests.
The easing of the lockdowns has added urgency to the need to find treatments.
Models and Data
Department of Justice Requesting Data From Governors of States that Issued COVID-19 Orders that May Have Resulted in Deaths of Elderly Nursing Home Residents | OPA | Department of Justice
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 01:52
Today the Justice Department requested COVID-19 data from the governors of states that issued orders which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients to their vulnerable populations, often without adequate testing.
For example, on March 25, 2020, New York ordered: ''No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.''
''Protecting the rights of some of society's most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country's most important obligations,'' said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband. ''We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.''
According to the Centers for Disease Control, New York has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, with 32,592 victims, many of them elderly. New York's death rate by population is the second highest in the country with 1,680 deaths per million people. New Jersey's death rate by population is 1,733 deaths per million people '' the highest in the nation. In contrast, Texas's death rate by population is 380 deaths per million people; and Texas has just over 11,000 deaths, though its population is 50 percent larger than New York and has many more recorded cases of COVID-19 '' 577,537 cases in Texas versus 430,885 cases in New York. Florida's COVID-19 death rate is 480 deaths per million; with total deaths of 10,325 and a population slightly larger than New York.
The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division is evaluating whether to initiate investigations under the federal ''Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act'' (CRIPA), which protects the civil rights of persons in state-run nursing homes, among others. The Civil Rights Division seeks to determine if the state orders requiring admission of COVID-19 patients to nursing homes is responsible for the deaths of nursing home residents.
On March 3, 2020, the Attorney General announced the Justice Department's National Nursing Home Initiative. This is a comprehensive effort by the department, led by the Elder Justice Initiative and in strong partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that uses every available tool to pursue nursing homes that provide substandard care to their residents. As announced on April 10, 2020, the department is also investigating the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where COVID-19 has taken the lives of at least 76 residents. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/federal-investigation-conditions-nursing-home-veterans-massachusetts-announced
The data requests and Soldiers' Home investigation are not accusations of fault or wrongdoing by the states or any other individual or entity, and the department has not reached any conclusions about these matters.
Dutch NIH > RIVM asked Telegraaf to “go easy” on them and the editor in Chief agreed and complied
CDC obesity data reveals wide gap between white and black Americans | PBS NewsHour
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 14:43
Overall obesity rates in U.S.Map of overall obesity rates in U.S. Image courtesy of CDC.
This week, the Center for Disease Control released new data on obesity in the United States. The discrepancy between rates for white and black adults reveals an alarmingly wide gap.
When considering non-Hispanic white adults, zero states had a prevalence of obesity of 35% or greater. However, for non-Hispanic black adults, 28 states and the District of Columbia reported that 35% or more of the demographic is obese.
The maps combined data from 2011 through 2013.
Obesity rates among black AmericansMap of obesity rates among black Americans. Image courtesy of CDC.
The agency calculated body mass index (BMI) averages for all 50 states using self reported data on weight and height. It was obtained through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) '-- a telephone interview survey conducted by state health departments with CDC oversight. The sampling was state-based, and included both cell phones and landlines.
When considering the country at large and all ethnicities, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Only Mississippi and West Virginia reported rates of 35% or greater.
Obesity rates among white AmericansMap of obesity rates among white Americans. Image courtesy of CDC.
Overall, based on the self reported data survey, non-Hispanic blacks experienced obesity at 37.6 percent, followed by Hispanics at 30.6 percent, and non-Hispanic whites at 26.6 percent.
Schools
School surveillance with zoom classes
Do you have a student in xxxxxx? Did you know that "distance learning" means Soviet-style surveillance? I got a call yesterday that the surveillance software "pinged" something my son said in class. He apparently said "Don't Juul." Juul is a tobacco vape device popular among teens. I was told that this is considered talking about drugs, and is a "Level One Disciplary Infraction." I argued with the teacher that he had done nothing wrong, after all, Juul is a prohibited activity, and he said "don't" do it. I asked if he would be punished for telling another student not to smoke crack. No answer. I said that I assume "kill yourself" is a term that gets pinged, and asked if he would be punished for saying "don't kill yourself." She said of course not, but could not explain why "don't Juul" was a problem. She said "we both know what he meant." I said that I knew nothing of the sort, and asked what evidence she had that "don't" meant something other than "don't." She had no answer. I told her that spying on kids and disciplining them arbitrarily was the worst sort of lesson for them, and we ended the call.
Not long after, a Vice Principal called me and apologized, acknowledged that my son had done nothing wrong, and confirmed that there would be no record of any disciplinary violation - not even a warning.
I found out later that a girl in the class is named Jewel, and my son was making a stupid joke about her name after the teacher (a young, fun teacher that he likes) called on her by name. I know this shocks the conscience coming from a 16 year old.
Remember this: Your kids are under surveillance. The school authorities will act arbitrarily and irrationally against them. Our kids are being coached and indoctrinated to accept authoritarianism. Stand up for them. This is America, or so I thought until recently.
University staff are worried their recorded lectures will be used against them - The Verge
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 14:21
After American University in Washington, DC made the decision to move classes online this semester in response to the pandemic, it sent teaching staff guidance about how their work would change. When Aram Sinnreich, a media professor at AU specializing in intellectual property, received the documents, he naturally decided to check out the copyright provisions. What he found was strange.
AU's policy said that if Sinnreich or any other teacher recorded their lessons or lectures through software like Skype or Google Hangouts, the teacher would own the copyright to those recordings. But if they used the university-provided software '-- a popular learning management system called Blackboard '-- the university would retain the rights. ''It stood out for me in a way it wouldn't necessarily stand out for people who don't study copyright law,'' Sinnreich tells The Verge.
Recorded lectures could replace staff in a standoff with management
The provision is unsettling because of the power it potentially gives universities, says Sinnreich. In a worst-case scenario, copyrighted teaching material could be deployed against staff during a standoff with management. If teachers were laid off as a result of pandemic-related cuts, for example (a situation that has been described as ''unavoidable'' by one university president), lectures could be deployed ''to undermine the labor power of a faculty workforce,'' Sinnreich says.
Universities could essentially tell staff: come back to work, or we'll use your lecture recordings to teach your classes without you. Or if they were really desperate, universities could fire them and do that anyway.
Sinnreich says he doesn't think this was AU's intention at all by including this provision. The same document notes that staff have already objected to the clause, and discussions are underway to adjust it, something AU also told The Verge. ''I think it was probably an afterthought that did not get thoroughly vetted,'' says Sinnreich. But when he shared the policy on Twitter, dozens of academics responded expressing exactly the same fears.
Many universities' blackboard installs will literally not allow you to delete video lectures once you've uploaded them. It's no stretch to think universities will try to use these to re-teach courses sans prof, with only a TA, copyright or not. Be mindful. https://t.co/yhb8Emv1WI
'-- Mar Hicks (@histoftech) August 5, 2020Mar Hicks, a history of technology professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, noted that many universities, including their own, don't even allow staff to delete video lectures they upload to Blackboard. On Twitter, Hicks said it was ''no stretch'' to think that universities could use such recordings to ''re-teach courses'' in the future without the staff who created them. ''If there's 1 thing we've seen in the pandemic it's that higher ed is in a grim austerity stage & many universities are desperate to make money at anyone's expense,'' said Hicks.
Speaking to The Verge over the phone, Hicks said such fears ''predate this particular crisis'' and are a result of austerity measures that have affected the education sector for many years. ''For decades there's been a very strange idea that higher education and universities should be run like businesses instead of like the public goods they are,'' says Hicks. ''So we've seen a lot of strange and harmful budgetary decisions made.''
The pandemic is hitting an already beleaguered education sector hard
This has included disempowering teaching staff by moving them away from tenure-track positions and toward temporary contracts with low wages. Many academics The Verge spoke to for this article cited the rise in temporary contracts as a compounding factor in their fears about copyrighted lecture material being used against them. One 2018 analysis by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) found that 73 percent of faculty positions in the US are non-tenure-track positions.
''Those are the folks we're most worried about in this current crisis, because they're going to get cut first,'' says Hicks. ''They're also the folks who, if they record their lectures this semester, there's the highest chance they're not going to be asked to teach those courses again, and maybe their recorded lectures will be run without their knowledge.''
Right now, the problems are mostly hypothetical. Normally in the US, anything created by employees belongs to employers because of the work for hire doctrine. But teaching material has long been excluded, thanks to custom and legal precedence. It's a carve-out known as the ''teacher exception.'' This means that teaching staff generally own the copyright to content they produce.
Where things get complicated is that universities can and do create bespoke policies to claim copyright over recorded material if they so choose. Christopher Sprigman, a law professor at NYU specializing in intellectual property, tells The Verge that such policies are not common right now, but this is likely to change in the near future.
''The pandemic has really accelerated that conversation, and I've seen some evidence that universities are starting to push in this direction,'' says Sprigman. ''It hasn't broken out into the open just yet, but it's in the air.''
Last year, for example, Purdue University adopted a new policy that claimed all online modules as copyrightable work belonging to the institution (though individuals could negotiate specific rights agreements with the university). As reported by Inside Higher Ed, when the pandemic hit, staff worried the same policy would be applied to all traditional classes that were now being remotely delivered. After they voiced their worries, the university stated it would not reuse their online modules without permission.
As David Sanders, an associate professor of biology at Purdue, told Inside Higher Ed, the negotiations showed that ''on these things you have to take collective action. People make a difference in what happens. Without that, faculty could have potentially lost all IP rights in posting everything online in the transition to remote instruction.''
The pandemic has forced many higher education institutes, like this one in Lower Saxony, Hildesheim, to move lectures and classes online. Photo by Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images The UK also offers some guidance on what to expect during these sorts of negotiations. There, teaching staff have been under similar pressures as those in the US due to budget constraints and a push toward marketized education. But lecture recordings are far more common in the UK, used by roughly 70 percent of institutions as of 2016. That meant that when the UK's University and College Union (UCU) organized a series of strikes starting in 2018 in opposition to cuts, some universities floated the idea of using recorded lectures to break these strikes.
However, there's no clear evidence that any universities actually followed through on these threats. And indeed, teaching staff reacted with such fury to the suggestions that it actually led to better policies, says Emily Nordmann, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland whose research focuses on lecture capture.
''The backlash was so strong that the University of Edinburgh [one of the institutions where recorded lectures were suggested as a stand-in for teachers] became the first university in the UK to ban recordings to break strikes,'' Nordmann tells The Verge. The university's official policy on recorded lectures now states that ''recordings will not be used to cover university staff exercising their legal right to take industrial action without the lecturers' consent,'' and other institutions have updated their own policies since. As Nordmann says: ''They made a mistake but they completely rectified it in the right way.''
''Clear policy and communication can solve a lot of these problems.''
Nordmann notes that although the fear that recorded lectures will be used to break strikes is a quite specific one, it reflects anxieties about the future of higher education more generally. Recorded lectures have many benefits, making it easier for students to revisit challenging material and helping those who manage disabilities like dyslexia. And of course, during a pandemic, they're absolutely essential to make remote learning work. But teaching staff worry they are a relatively passive form of instruction, one that allows students to switch off, especially if they're watching last year's lectures, reheated for consumption.
''The conversation about lecture recordings is part of a larger conversation about what we're providing and how we expect students to engage with it,'' says Nordmann. She says if universities could communicate better with staff about how recorded lectures are used, it would benefit everyone. ''Clear policy and communication can solve a lot of these problems.''
Others are warier, however. Hicks says that as a historian of technology, they're all too aware of the problem of feature creep '-- the tendency for a technology's applications to expand beyond its initial scope. A 2018 paper on workplace surveillance and lecture capture compares the danger to that of CCTV. Although security cameras might be installed in a workplace with the intention of protecting against theft, the information they capture can be subject to all sorts of analysis, from making sure employees aren't wasting time to gauging their emotional moods. Recording lectures has obvious benefits, but norms about how this information is used are still being established, including the question of copyright.
''As we see from technologies and their unintended consequences, if things are built a certain way, even if the intention isn't there they can lead to bad outcomes just by virtue of how they work,'' says Hicks. ''As a technology historian that's an issue I think about a lot.''
Zoom Reports Partial Outage Has Been Fixed After School Disruptions - The New York Times
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 21:09
Business | Partial Zoom Outage Is Fixed After School DisruptionsThe Atlanta school district and Penn State University were among those affected by the outage, which Zoom said was resolved before 1 p.m. Eastern time.
Zoom has become a critical lifeline for many school districts, companies and local governments during the coronavirus outbreak. Credit... Martin Bureau/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images Aug. 24, 2020Updated 2:02 p.m. ET
A widespread outage on the video call service Zoom caused problems for students, teachers and professors around the United States on Monday morning, the first day of classes for many schools and universities that are reopening online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The partial outage, which lasted almost four hours, took place just as working and school hours began on the East Coast and affected the wide variety of people who now rely on Zoom as a lifeline. Businesses could not make video calls to clients, courthouses could not conduct hearings, and city and county governments had to postpone meetings.
Zoom said it began receiving reports of users being unable to start or join meetings at about 8:50 a.m. on the East Coast. About two hours later, the company said that it was ''deploying a fix across our cloud,'' and at about 12:40 p.m. it said it had resolved the issue. ''Thank you all for your patience and our sincere apologies for disrupting your day,'' the company said on Twitter.
The company did not describe the problem except to say it was ''causing users to be unable to authenticate to the Zoom website'' and unable to start and join meetings. It also said some users were ''unable to sign up for paid accounts,'' or ''upgrade or manage their service on the Zoom website.''
As the coronavirus pandemic has kept students out of classrooms and office workers out of offices, Zoom has become a critical lifeline for many schools, companies and local governments. Michigan's Supreme Court, which has conducted hundreds of thousands of hearings online since the pandemic began, said on Monday that it was among the institutions hit by the outage.
''Virtual courtroom proceedings are being affected by a widespread Zoom outage in the U.S. and beyond that is preventing courts being able to start and join meetings,'' the Supreme Court said on Twitter.
The website DownDetector, which tracks outages at social media companies and tech companies, showed significant outages in major cities across the country, including New York, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco. At one point, the site recorded more than 15,000 reports of outages.
By about 10:55 a.m., shares in Zoom had fallen about 2.7 percent, though they began to recover as service was restored.
In a typical year, nearly two-thirds of the 50 million public schoolchildren in the United States have returned to their classrooms by the third week of August. This year, many of the country's largest districts have delayed the start of school or have chosen to begin the year with remote learning as the coronavirus continues to spread.
Zoom has proved invaluable for many schools, letting classes continue without students and teachers packed into classrooms. During the outage on Monday, schools in Georgia, Texas and Pennsylvania reported problems. The Atlanta school district, which serves about 50,000 students, was among those affected by the outage. ''We are working to resolve the issue and will provide an update when restored,'' the district said on Twitter on Monday morning. ''Parents and students will hear from their local school regarding next steps and alternative ways for virtual learning.''
Students and professors at Penn State University reported a ''widespread outage'' of Zoom service on its campus on Monday morning, and urged students to download Zoom's desktop client as a possible workaround.
Hundreds of millions of people now use Zoom, up from about 10 million in 2019. Like other tech companies that have experienced sudden popularity, Zoom has scrambled to scale up its capabilities and security. In April, Zoom formed a council of chief information security officers from other companies to share ideas for improving quality and minimizing disruptions.
Children In A Disaster Infographic: Easy as ABC | CDC
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:25
Download:EASY AS ABC pdf icon [PDF '' 853 KB]
DescriptionTitle: Easy as ABC '' Three Steps to Protect Your Child During Emergencies in the School DayA Ask how you would be reunited with your child in an emergency of evacuationB Bring extra medications, special food, or supplies your child would need if you were separated overnightC Complete a backpack card and tuck one in your child's backpack and your wallet
A ASK how you would be reunited with your child in an emergency or evacuation
How would you find your child if an emergency happened during the school day?
If students had to evacuate, where should parents/guardians go for pick up?How would the school notify you in the event of emergency?B BRING extra medications, special food, or supplies your child would need if you were separated overnightAn emergency might require a sudden sleepover. Tell school administrators about any extra supplies your child may need to safely make it through a night away from home.
What essential supplies would your child need if separated from you overnight? (Medications? Inhaler? Milk? Diapers? Battery pack for special equipment?)Does the school have an emergency stockpile of these items? Yes '– No '–If your child has special medications, can extras be kept at the school? Yes '– No '–What is the school policy for how and when medicine can be administered to your child?C COMPLETE a backpack card and tuck one in your child's backpack and your walletEmergencies are chaotic! Make sure your child or their school knows how to reach you, and who should be called if your phone isn't working.
Complete an emergency contact card pdf icon [PDF '' 134 KB, For Print Only] to make sure you and your child know how to get in touch quickly.
OTG
Smart phones spread Covid! Get a Flip Phone!
Facebook Says Apple's New iPhone Update Will Disrupt Online Advertising - WSJ
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 20:04
Facebook Inc. says privacy changes that Apple Inc. has made to its newest operating system will cripple the social-media giant's ability to serve targeted ads to iPhone users while they use outside apps.
The announcement sharpens the clash between the two tech giants, with Apple standing for user privacy while Facebook defends the free flow of data that has long underpinned digital marketing.
Facebook on Wednesday released a note to app developers, saying Apple's changes will affect its Audience Network business. That business connects users' Facebook identities with their off-platform activities, enabling the company to serve ads on outside apps'--and to enrich its own data set with information collected elsewhere, allowing Facebook to refine its behavioral targeting.
The changes go into effect with Apple's new operating system for iPhone, called iOS14, which was released in beta form to developers in June. Under Apple's new rule, Facebook and other firms that facilitate online advertising will no longer be allowed to gather Apple's identifier for advertisers, or IDFA, without user permission. This 32-character string of letters and numbers is the user's principal pseudonym in the 'anonymized' files kept by the digital-ad and data-broker industries. Companies large and small use it to match up data sets about where users go, what they have bought and what apps they use.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Facebook doesn't disclose the size of the Audience Network business, though it is believed to represent a slice of Facebook's nearly $70 billion digital-ad empire. Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, ad-tech consulting firm Jounce Media predicted Facebook Audience Network would bring in $3.4 billion in 2020. Yet the company expects the impact from Apple's new consent requirements will be significant enough that the company acknowledged the IDFA changes on its July 30 earnings call.
Companies that use Facebook's ad technology to sell ads in their apps, from game makers to news publishers, could be impacted by Apple's change.
Facebook said in preliminary testing it has seen a 50% drop in publisher revenue when personalization was removed from advertising.
Apple, which produces devices sold world-wide, has criticized the data collection operation that underlies Facebook's massive advertising business. Facebook, meanwhile, has faulted Apple for the exclusionary nature of its platform and for operating data centers in countries without robust protections for users.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has made privacy one of the company's priorities in recent years, running advertisements based on its intent to protect user data and refusing to comply with some law-enforcement requests to unlock iPhones for high-profile investigations.
Mr. Cook has even sought to turn a principle advocated by his predecessor, Steve Jobs'--that ''our customers are not our product'''--into a business strategy. The company has gradually aimed to increase customer awareness of the value of privacy with features such as a sign-in option on apps that conceals personal information and a browser update that reveals how sites track users.
''Our view of privacy started from our values, then we crafted a business plan from that,'' Mr. Cook said during a Fortune conference in 2018.
Apple critics have argued the company is restricting access to its platform to restrict competition on its platform in self-serving fashions, however. Facebook earlier this month joined those protesting Apple's 30% cut from transactions within apps, saying in a product release that it asked for an exemption but was refused. Facebook at the time presented the issue as a benefit for small businesses struggling during the pandemic.
In preparation for the new iPhone operating system, the digital-ad industry is bracing for many users to select the option ''Ask App Not to Track.'' That will remove a key linkage that Facebook and Alphabet Inc. -owned Google use to support their massive digital advertising businesses'--not to mention the host of small companies that are even more reliant on it. In a survey by Tap Research Inc., 85% of respondents said that if they saw this message in their favorite app, they'd select ''Ask App Not to Track.''
Despite its efforts to adapt to the coming changes, Facebook said Wednesday, they ''may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS14 in the future.''
Facebook said the changes would likely result in reduced earnings for developers ''at an already difficult time for businesses,'' adding that it considers the situation to still be murky because of an absence of guidance from Apple.
''If Facebook loses the ability to gather user-level data from iOS apps, that delivers a serious blow to its user-profile enrichment process,'' said digital-ad consultant Ratko Vidakovic. ''If advertising effectiveness suffers, it will limit the scale of ad spend on Facebook in the future, consequently limiting Facebook's growth.''
Facebook said Audience Network will continue to operate on Apple devices using previous operating systems and those made by other manufacturers.
Write to Jeff Horwitz at Jeff.Horwitz@wsj.com and Patience Haggin at patience.haggin@wsj.com
Stop The EARN IT Bill Before It Breaks Encryption | EFF Action Center
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 14:46
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are pushing forward with their so-called ''EARN IT'' Act, a bill that will undermine encryption and free speech online. The bill will create a new government commission, dominated by law enforcement agencies, and give it unprecedented power over websites both large and small. Attorney General Bill Barr and the DOJ have demanded for years that messaging services give the government special access to users' private messages. If EARN IT passes, Barr will finally get his wish'--law enforcement agencies will be able to scan every message sent online.
The EARN IT Act (S. 3398) is anti-speech, anti-security, and unnecessary. A key Senate committee is scheduled to debate the bill next week'--we need to tell Senators to reject this dangerous proposal.
The bill uses crimes against children as an excuse to force Internet platforms to follow a set of ''best practices'' set out by a government commission. If owners of the platforms don't follow the new rules, they'll lose legal protections for free speech.
It's easy to predict how Attorney General William Barr, who will dominate the commission, will use that power: to break encryption. He's said over and over again that the ''best practice'' is to force encrypted messaging systems to give law enforcement access to our private conversations. The Graham-Blumenthal bill would finally give Barr the power to demand that tech companies obey him or face serious repercussions, including both civil and criminal liability. That will put encryption providers in an awful conundrum: either face the possibility of losing everything in a single lawsuit, or undermine their users' security, making all of us more vulnerable to online criminals.
The EARN IT Act is also an unconstitutional constraint on free expression. The government must not be allowed to create new rules mandating how websites manage user-generated content. We wouldn't let Congress demand that newspapers cover certain stories, or slant the news. Similarly, lawmakers shouldn't make rules that require websites to screen and censor user speech.
The Graham-Blumenthal bill cynically uses crimes against children as an excuse to hand control of online privacy over to federal law enforcement agencies. Congress should put a stop to it.
Police Requests To Access Your Smart Speaker Are Up 72% Since 2016 '' True Pundit
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 04:21
Amazon said it had received more than 3,000 requests for smart speaker user data from police earlier this year, according to a new article from Wired. Even more stunning, Amazon complied with the police's requests on more than 2,000 occasions, forking over recordings and data that give law enforcement an ear into someone's household.
This number marks a 72% increase in these types of requests from the same period in 2016 '' the first time Amazon disclosed the data. The number of requests are up 24% year over year.
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Douglas Orr, head of the criminal justice department at the University of North Georgia, told Wired that police look for this smart home data ''as routinely as data from smartphones''. Police can continue to collect data if one electronic device (like a phone) leads them to another (like a smart home speaker) simply by amending search warrants, he said.
Google's Nest unit has also seen a similar spike in police demands for data from its smart speakers. The company's annual transparency report shows consistently rising numbers for police requests for data.
Meanwhile, Amazon said that ''any number of entities'' can request the data, but that they prioritize it based on urgency. Lee Whitfield, a forensic analyst, said: ''Things like Homeland Security, they're going to take high priority. Other law enforcement requests will come in under that. And then things like divorce cases or civil cases, they have a lower ranking.'' '' READ MORE
Listen to the insightful Thomas Paine Podcast Below --
mySidewalk: Data-Driven Insights, Improvement, and Innovation for Communities
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:41
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' Our dashboard is helping us take things to the next level. The correlations and maps alone will lead our team to start asking new questions, fine-tune our targets, and engage departments in new ways. -- '-- Ed Foley, Performance Management Analyst, City of Olathe ' The mySidewalk platform allows us to highlight the significant progress downtown Kansas City has achieved in our economy, housing, development, and quality of life. -- '-- Bill Dietrich, President and CEO for the Downtown Council of Kansas City Missouri We are wholly committed to making data accessible to everyone, including the nearly one in five Americans with a disability. That's why mySidewalk's shared documents, including Reports, Dashboards, and Embeddable Assets are fully ADA compliant. Each one meets WCAG Version 2.0 Level AA accessibility guidelines. We work hard to make sure that those who have physical and visual impairments can readily access each component. Learn more about our accessibility-driven approach here.
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At a Glance | Austin, TX | Economy & Entrepreneurship
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:41
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QFS & Reset
QFS and Reset TODAY!
August 27th is the day the QFS goes live. Hiding in the shadows is Trump's master stroke- the GCR and RV (re-evaluation) of global currencies according to gold backing. I have more intel if you are interested.
See this document from the US OCC (page 3, second paragraph for confirmation of GCR and QFS).
https://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/alerts/2020/alert-2020-3a.PDF
Much of this has been known since 2016
NESARA/GESARA UPDATE FOR TODAY AUGUST 17, 2020 this is the latest update...the global reset is in process. Historical Bond monies that backed the Global Currency Reset were sitting in Paymaster accounts. Overnight Sun night 16 Aug. the new currency rates
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Executive Override of Central Banks in the United States and the United Kingdom | CLS Blue Sky Blog
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 18:09
What makes a central bank ''independent?'' As most central bank scholars and policy-makers would likely answer that question, ''it depends'' '' it depends on the bank, the function it is performing, and the political-economy of the times. Still, as complicated as the concept of central bank independence is, many experts could likely agree on at least one indicium of independence: a central bank's legal freedom to make certain decisions free from executive branch interference '' at least where certain of its core functions, like monetary policy, are concerned.
In a recent article, we compare the way that two different legal frameworks '' in the U.S. and the UK '' legally empower their executive branches to direct or override decisions normally reserved to their independent central banks.
The analysis reveals a paradox surrounding the notion of central bank independence: Could a set of narrowly-tailored and transparent override powers that authorize a treasury, with oversight from the legislature, to direct a central bank in exigent circumstances yield a sturdier form of central bank independence than a system that establishes few or limited legal mechanisms of executive override?
The UK framework From the UK perspective, our article examines four powers of direction that HM Treasury has over the Bank of England:
General power of direction ''in the public interest,''[1] introduced as part of the post-war legislation that took the Bank into public ownership in 1946. While originally sweeping in nature, monetary policy and micro-prudential supervision have subsequently been carved out from its scope;Reserve power over monetary policy ''in extreme economic circumstances,''[2] retained by HM Treasury at the time the Bank of England was granted operational responsibility for monetary policy in 1998; Power to direct the Bank to comply with international obligations,[3] which is applicable in the field of firm-specific supervision, granted in 2012; and Power of direction where public money is at risk in a crisis,[4] introduced as part of post-crisis legislative reforms and designed to put beyond doubt the chancellor of the exchequer's ability to direct the Bank where public funds were at risk.The article explores how the powers have changed in discrete ways at key moments in the United Kingdom's economic history, and how they can and should be seen as a response to the unique political and economic environment and the relationship between the two institutions that prevailed at the time.
It also considers the procedural safeguards that accompany any use of these powers by HM Treasury, which vary in nature, and range from ex ante consultation with the Bank of England to ex post parliamentary approval.
In fact, it is the procedural safeguards that accompany the use of an executive override that largely determine the impact on central bank independence. In his account of how power should be delegated to independent agencies, Sir Paul Tucker, a former deputy governor of the Bank, concludes that executive overrides and agency independence are not necessarily inconsistent: ''What matters for any override is that it be transparent, subject to legislative scrutiny, constrained by clear criteria, and in practice rare.''[5]
The article finds that three of the powers of direction score reasonably well against this standard. The 1946 power scores less well (with only a general ''public interest'' criterion and no mandated mechanisms for scrutiny of its use) '' but this has been moderated by the de jure carve-outs noted above and de facto studious restraint from HM Treasury in exercising the power.
The U.S. frameworkTurning to the U.S. system, in U.S. law, there are no formal legal powers of override analogous to those in the UK, which might apply generally or in regard to the Fed's monetary policy. The closest the U.S. comes to a general override power are section 15 and section 10(6) of the Federal Reserve Act.
Section 15 gives the U.S. Treasury the power to ''direct'' regional Federal Reserve banks to act as its fiscal agent. This allows the Treasury to, for example, ask the New York Fed to act as its agent in executing foreign exchange transactions, using funds from the Exchange Stabilization Fund. The power also involves the plain vanilla maintenance of the government's bank account at the regional banks. One would be hard pressed indeed to interpret ''direction'' in section 15 of the Federal Reserve Act to refer to any power to constrict the Fed's independence broadly or in regard to monetary policy. Certainly, that has never been the historic usage or understanding of section 15.
Section 10(6) is more nuanced. The language of that provision, in summary, gives the Treasury the power to ''supervise and control'' the Fed in areas where their jurisdiction overlaps. It provides that ''wherever any power vested by this Act in the Federal Reserve Board or the Federal reserve agent appears to conflict with the powers of the Secretary of the Treasury, such powers shall be exercised subject to the supervision and control of the Secretary.''[6]
The academic literature is virtually silent about section 10(6); and it appears it has never been called upon to justify any Treasury actions. A deep-dive into the legislative history surrounding the provision suggests that it was added to the original Federal Reserve Act to appease those in Congress who feared too much monetary power would be given away to the new Federal Reserve from the Treasury.
Specifically, the legislative history shows that section 10(6) was meant to ensure the Treasury's upper-hand in three particular situations: (1) where the comptroller of the currency (part of Treasury) was to be responsible for the issuing of national bank notes, given that the statute also required the comptroller to answer to both the treasury secretary and the new board; (2) where the comptroller would be responsible for setting quality standards for national banks, which would then become member banks in the new Federal Reserve System; and (3) regarding the decision whether to continue using the sub-treasury system for the deposit of public funds, or switch the government's bank account to the new Federal Reserve regional banks.
Of course, with the disappearance of national bank notes, the largely settled membership of the Federal Reserve System, and the abolition of the sub-treasury system, section 10(6) would seem moot to the original purposes for which it was intended. Indeed, Congress in 1956 recommended that 10(6) be deleted as ''obsolete.'' For some reason, that recommendation was not taken. Even so, while Treasury's power to ''supervise and control'' the Fed still exists '' and remains unmoored from statutory criteria constraining its actual use '' the legislative history does make plain that it was never intended as an instrument for influencing the Fed's monetary policy.
But the absence of formal legal powers of override has not meant a politically insulated Fed. Instead, history provides several examples in which the Treasury, or the president, sought to influence or control the Fed's monetary policy.
Our Article discusses several examples of this kind of informal, de facto pressure. The earliest examples relate to the bond-buying programs run by the government during both world wars. After the wars, the clearest examples of such informal pressure appear in the relationships between the U.S. president and the Fed chairs (a result, we conjecture, of the formalized Fed-Treasury Accord of 1951 which put more pressure on a visibly hands-off Treasury). The article discusses, as a few examples, President Lyndon Johnson's no-holds-barred style pressuring of William McChesney Martin (''my boys are dying in Vietnam and you won't print the money I need''); President Richard Nixon caught on tape in 1971 telling Fed Chair Arthur Burns to ''kick 'em in the rump a little'' (referring to the FOMC and the discount rate); and President Donald Trump publicly criticizing Fed Chairman Jay Powell's decisions to raise rates in 2019.
LessonsCentral bank independence is as much a matter of practice and custom as it is of law. The relationship between any nation's executive branch and its central bank will have developed organically over time, reflecting the constitutional traditions of that system of government and the prevailing political and economic circumstances.
Against this background, our article provides an in-depth comparison of the executive override powers available to HM Treasury over the Bank of England on the one hand, and the U.S. Treasury over the Federal Reserve on the other,
It finds that the UK framework sets out prescribed powers on a statutory basis, in an established and transparent legal framework. The U.S. framework, in contrast, is more informal, based on ad hoc convention and subject to less formal oversight.
Our article suggests that the U.S. might consider whether some aspects of the UK design would augment the institutional independence of the Fed, and considers in particular the ability to exercise some power of direction in times of emergency and in the interest of financial stability. More broadly, the article offers scholars and policymakers alike a new lens through which they can view the question of central bank independence.
ENDNOTES
[1] Section 4 of the Bank of England Act 1946.
[2] Section 19 of the Bank of England Act 1998.
[3] Section 410 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
[4] Section 61 of the Financial Services Act 2012.
[5] Paul Tucker, Unelected Power: The Quest for Legitimacy in Central Banking and the Regulatory State 125 (2018).
[6] Federal Reserve Act of 1913 § 10(6), 12 U.S.C. § 246 (2012).
This post comes to us from Michael Salib, a lawyer at the Bank of England, and from Christina Skinner, a professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. It is based on their recent article, ''Executive Override of Central Banks: A Comparison of the Legal Frameworks in the United States and the United Kingdom,'' available here. The post and the article are written in Mr. Salib's personal capacity and do not purport to represent the views of the Bank of England.
Ministry of Truthiness
Journalists' Twitter use shows them talking within smaller bubbles | Illinois
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:18
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. '-- Journalists in Washington, D.C., have long been accused of living in a ''Beltway bubble,'' isolated from the broader public, talking too much to each other.
Their interactions on Twitter, however, show them congregating in even smaller ''microbubbles,'' says a recent study. The journalists within each communicate more among themselves than with journalists outside the group.
That means Beltway journalism ''may be even more insular than previously thought,'' say study authors Nikki Usher and Yee Man Margaret Ng, ''raising additional concerns about vulnerability to groupthink and blind spots.''
Illinois journalism professor Yee Man Margaret Ng specializes in big data and computational social science.
Photo courtesy Yee Man Margaret Ng
Usher and Ng, journalism professors at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, identified nine clusters of journalists or ''communities of practice'' in their study, published online by the journal Social Media and Society.
Their ''elite/legacy'' cluster was the largest, including about 30% of the journalists covered in the study, with The Washington Post, NBC News, NPR and The New York Times among the major newsrooms represented.
A congressional journalism cluster included another 20%. The other clusters centered around CNN, television producers, local political news, regulatory journalists, foreign affairs, long-form/enterprise reporting and social issues.
In leading the study, Usher said she wanted to ''describe the contours of what political journalism in Washington looks like and of the process of making news unfold.'' Another goal was to better understand how journalists connect to and learn from each other and establish conventional knowledge.
Twitter seemed an ideal way to do that, given its unique role among journalists as a virtual water cooler, Usher said. ''Most of the time, what happens on Twitter does not reflect the real world. But in the case of political journalism and political elites, generally speaking, what happens on Twitter is reality.'' It's an online reflection of their offline lives and work, she said, and plays a significant role in agenda-setting.
''So this was a particularly potent way of looking, at scale, at how ideas are exchanged, how people are making sense of things,'' Usher said.
The ''at scale'' part is where Ng comes in. Usher's research has focused more on qualitative research, primarily about elite U.S. newsrooms and how new technology impacts how journalists work. Ng, however, specializes in big data and computational social science. She saw particular power in applying those tools to journalists' interactions on Twitter.
''With more than 2,000 journalists in this study, we could not observe each of them individually in real life. So we used their digital life as a way to understand how they interact with their peers,'' Ng said.
The researchers started with a list of all credentialed congressional correspondents as found in the Congressional Directory, then identified those with active Twitter accounts.
Ng collected all the tweets, retweets and replies posted on most of those accounts over two months in early 2018, using Twitter's application-programming interface. She winnowed those further to only those sent between or referencing other Beltway journalists.
The final data set consisted of 133,529 Twitter posts from 2,015 journalists, about one-third of all credentialed congressional correspondents.
Ng applied a ''community detection'' algorithm to determine where there might be clusters of journalists, based on their Twitter interactions. Usher labeled those clusters based on biographical and employment data, as well as an analysis of the words used in the tweets.
Several things stood out for Usher in examining these specific clusters. The large elite/legacy cluster, with some of the most influential news media prominently represented, was also among the most insular, she noted. More than 68% of the cluster members' Twitter interactions with other journalists were within the group.
''That also may mean they're not engaging, in the same kind of way, with the people who are actually on the ground getting these sorts of congressional microscoops, they're not engaging with the journalists who are the policy wonks,'' Usher said.
''I was also really intrigued to see that there was a television producer cluster, where Fox was in the mix with ABC and CBS, which might explain why we tend to see a lot of the same faces on TV news programs.''
One cluster was labeled as CNN because more than half its members were CNN journalists and much of the conversation related to network stories and personalities, which Usher found problematic.
''CNN is telling a story about what is happening with CNN, and that is worrisome. Maybe that's an organizational branding strategy, but I think it potentially has deleterious effects for public discourse,'' she said.
In the opposite direction, she was encouraged to see a space in the long-form/enterprise cluster where journalists doing the ''deep, thoughtful dives'' could exchange ideas.
Overall, however, Usher thinks their findings add to concerns about journalists' Twitter use. ''Political journalists in D.C. are people who use Twitter all day. And so the question is what does that do to how they think about the world. And generally, from this paper and a previous one I did on gender and Beltway journalism, it seems to me that it can make things worse.''
BLM
Wisconsin Police internal memo
I work for the State of WI, the boss of our department Andrea Palm, released this wonderful message. Systemic racism mentioned and apparently I am complicit -still not sure what the definition is or how/what I've done personally beside being white.
Kenosha burns to the ground, the National Guard was present but they did not intervene. Gov Evers message after the Kenosha shooting implied that it was poor policing, poor police tactics, and poor judgement. This statement came before the facts came out.
WI has a dem gov, but at least our legislature is still a different party. Stupid laws can't just be railroaded through.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Palm
Last night, Governor Evers released a statement on the shooting of Jacob Blake, and I join with the governor in hoping fervently that he survives and heals. I also know hope is not enough. Today he and the Lieutenant Governor announced a Special Session on policing accountability and transparency convening at noon on Aug. 31, 2020.
There is a long history of systemic racism in law enforcement and other government systems, and I include health systems in that list. And yet, to use the word "history" to describe this, ignores the current reality that Black, Indigenous, and people of color live on a daily basis in our state. It is not enough to hope for change. It is not enough to reflect and listen, as I wrote after George Floyd's murder. It is not even enough for us at DHS to acknowledge our own complicity. These actions can be a part of our journey, but are too passive to be enough for this moment.
As leaders in public health in Wisconsin, it is up to DHS to identify racism as a public health crisis. We need systems-level change to dismantle systemic racism and oppression. Most recently, our work has focused on the pandemic, and it can be difficult to see anything beyond COVID-19 at times. But we must remember, COVID-19 compounds and illustrates the public health crisis of racism. That is why, as we work through this pandemic and beyond, we must center equity and anti-racism as foundational in that work. This includes the work that is currently underway within our agency to further define our strategy and framework for achieving a truly just and equitable department – both in terms of our role as an employer and in carrying our mission to the people of our state. We will keep you informed about ways you can contribute as this work continues within our agency.
For anyone looking for support, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available 24/7 to help DHS employees and their family members. You can find resources on the FEI website at https://www.feieap.com/ (username: SOWI) or call FEI to talk to someone. Counseling is available to employees and family members by calling 1-866-274-4723.
Thank you for your insight, dedication, and passion as we move forward together in this work.
Kenosha police shooting: Wisconsin man Jacob Blake shot by cop Sunday
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 16:04
Kenosha police shot a man Sunday evening, setting off unrest in the city after a video appeared to show the officer firing several shots at close range into the man's back.
The shooting victim has been identified as Jacob Blake, a Black man, by Wisconsin officials. He was in serious condition at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee as of early Monday morning.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation said early Monday that the involved officers have been placed on administrative leave.
MORE:Several fires burning in Kenosha as unrest continues after police officer shoots Black man
RELATED:Prominent figures react to the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha
Police had been called to a domestic incident in the 2800 block of 40th Street at 5:11 p.m. where the shooting later occurred.
Officers provided immediate aid to the shooting victim, Kenosha police reported, and he was taken by Flight for Life to Froedtert.
''Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight," Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. "While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country."
The Kenosha News reported that neighbors said Blake was trying to break up a fight between two women. Bystanders said he was Tased and then shot several times.
A video circulating on social media shows a man in a white shirt and black shorts walking to a gray van, followed by two male police officers with weapons drawn. The video does not show what happened before the man walked away from the officers, nor what was said, if anything.
As the man opens the door to get in, an officer grabs his shirt to hold him still, then appears to shoot him in the back at close range. Seven shots are heard, followed by a car horn, presumably from the man's head falling forward. A woman who followed behind the police can be seen screaming and jumping up and down.
Kenosha police requested Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff's deputies come to the scene because the shooting involved an officer.
The Division of Criminal Investigation said in a news release early Monday morning that it will try to provide a report of the incident to the prosector within 30 days.
"DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to a prosecutor following a complete and thorough investigation," the release said.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, whom the Blake family has retained to represent them, shared a video from the incident on Twitter. He also said Blake's three sons were in the car when Blake was shot.
"They saw a cop shoot their father," Crump tweeted. "They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!"
Crump represents the family of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the knee of a fired Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day. He also is backing the family of Joel Acevedo, who died after being put into a chokehold by an off-duty Milwaukee police officer at a party.
Large crowds soon gathered at the scene of the shooting, and protests and unrest, including several fires, continued into the early hours of Monday.
Kenosha: All Three Anarchist Rioters Shot Have Violent Criminal Histories, by Eric Striker - The Unz Review
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:44
A 17-year-old boy was charged with murder in the first degree after opening fire on three anarchist rioters in two seperate incidents.
The accused, Kyle Rittenhouse, is from Antioch, Illinois, just 21 miles from Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha with his AR-15 in order to protect small business owners and citizens who were being victimized after being abandoned by their state government and police.
Footage obtained by anti-extremism watchdog AntifaWatch shows the first shooting. In the video, a masked man named Joseph D. Rosenbaum is shown chasing Rittenhouse and throwing what some have claimed may have been an improvised explosive, but this has not yet been confirmed. Rittenhouse then shot Rosenbaum in the head as he charged and tried to take his rifle, an injury the attacker later died of.
Earlier in the night, Rosenbaum, who is Jewish, was shown violently antagonizing the armed men, shouting ''Shoot me, Nigga!''
After Rosenbaum was shot, a mob of anarchists pursued Rittenhouse as he attempted to flee. The young man then fell to the ground as the ''antifa'' members began attacking him. Rittenhouse opened fire against two of the attackers, one who was armed with a handgun.
One member of the gang, Anthony W. Huber, died after being shot in the chest. The armed assailant, Gaige Paul Grosskreutz, suffered a gruesome gunshot wound to the arm but survived.
The media has jumped into action to paint Rittenhouse as a white supremacist domestic terrorist and the anarchists who were shot as innocent ''peaceful protesters.'' But the facts bring this narrative into question.
Joseph Don Rosenbaum
According to public records, Joseph ''Jojo'' Rosenbaum has a long history of violence.
Rosenbaum was convicted in Arizona in 2002 for committing an act of sexual misconduct with a child.
According to his entry in the sex offender registry, he was a level 3 offender, meaning he was at a high risk of reoffending and a general danger to his surroundings.
Arizona Department of Corrections records reveal that Rosenbaum spent 12 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of two counts of 3rd degree sexual misconduct against a minor and one count of interfering with a monitoring device. For sexual misconduct with a minor to reach the level of class 3 felony, the victim must be under the age of 15.
More telling is Rosenbaum's 42 seperate disciplinary infractions while incarcerated. including numerous assaults, committing sex acts and stalking, manufacturing a weapon, and arson. He was then released in 2016.
According to records from the Wisconsin Circuit Court, Rosenbaum had pending charges for battery as domestic abuse filed just last month.
Anthony W. Huber
Anthony M. Huber, the second anarchist who died at the scene, is promoted as a hero by for-profit ''charity'' business Go Fund Me. His girlfriend has raised almost $70,000 in his name.
Public records show that Huber was in fact a violent criminal with a history of abusing his loved ones.
In 2012, Huber pled guilty to false imprisonment with a dangerous weapon and strangulation as domestic abuse. He appears to have violated the terms of his probation in 2016 and was sentenced to two years in state prison, most of it with time served. Huber was arrested again in 2018 for battery.
The woman fundraising in his name, Hannah J Gittings, currently has a warrant out for her arrest for refusing a breathalyzer while driving drunk and driving with a revoked license.
Gaige Paul Grosskreutz
Gaige P. Grosskreutz, a pistol wielding anarchist in his 40s who was shot in the arm while attacking the teenaged Rittenhouse, was charged with felony burglary and theft in 2013. He violated his probation just 4 months later. He has another arrest from 2017.
It is unclear from public records if Grosskreutz was ever convicted of a felony. If so, his possession of a firearm is a serious offense that could net him 10 years in prison.
According to a media puff piece, Grosskreutz was a professional activist with Milwaukee based ''People's Revolution,'' a more extreme breakaway from the Black Lives Matter NGO.
Virtually no mainstream media reporting on this incident has mentioned any of this information when reporting on GrossKreutz, Rosenbaum or Huber.
The strong anti-social and violent streak exemplified by these individuals '-- who were active participants in a violent riot and clear instigators in the shootings ''is common among the rank-and-file of ''antifa.''
Journalists hired by elite media may side with them against a 17-year-old boy engaging in self-defense, but it remains to be seen if America will.
Contextual Insurgency: Lessons From a Week Observing Portland Black Bloc - Center for Security Policy
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:33
Civil unrest roils the city of Portland for 86 straight days with no indication of stopping. Violent clashes between various radical left groups (including antifa) and local law enforcement began soon after the death of George Floyd. When federal agencies interceded to protect federal facilities and employees, the federal courthouse became a nightly target.
Contrary to media claims, the situation in Portland has continued despite efforts by federal law enforcement to deescalate and get state and local authorities to take responsibility. Antifa and its allies have subsequently shifted targets from the federal courthouse to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB).
This article examines an ongoing effort by a complex, distributed antifa network to conduct a ''dilemma action,'' intended to target the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) based on several days of open-source research and direct observation.
Put simply a dilemma action is a strategy using carefully-targeted types and degrees of civil disobedience to cause security forces to either concede the space and thus exhibit weakness, or respond in a manner that appears disproportionate and evokes negative sentiments in the population. (Sorensen, 2013)
Civil disobedience for a dilemma action is usually characterized as ''non-violent.'' but it must be remembered that within radical left organizing circles property damage by itself is considered non-violent by definition. Portland protests in particular have been marked by a nightly damage toll heavily biased towards law enforcement and government property and buildings.
The course of the nightly action against the PPB followed a fairly predictable pattern: a contingent of notional BLM protesters rendezvoused with a group of antifa black bloc at a public park close to their objective. As they moved towards the police building which was their target, ''corkers'' -a sort of bicycle-mounted blocking force- closed off side streets and the scouting line -typically on mopeds- moved ahead and on the flanks. Behind them came the main contingent of black bloc. Upon arrival at the PPB the streets were blocked with vehicles and burning dumpsters, with the ''corkers'' stationed to direct traffic away from the action and the scouts setting up a picket line extending out several blocks, watching for police reinforcements and creating the strong impression of antifa control of territory.
The black bloc then engaged in an steadily-escalating level of vandalism and property damage directed at their target, including unguarded police vehicles parked nearby. If uninterrupted, this quickly escalated to arson and serious destruction to the facilities.
By this point the scouting line often detected the flanking lines of riot police and a riot was formally been declared. Blocs armed with shields deployed defensively to allow time for the rest of the rioters to disengage. These ''shield walls'' provided a tempting target for a police ''bull rush'', video of which can then be used for propaganda purposes. Behind the shield wall other bloc members threw commercial fireworks, frozen water bottles, and paint-filled balloons. The paint balloons are often mixed with sand or abrasive material that scratches clear shields and visors when cleaning is attempted damaging expensive riot suppression equipment. Meanwhile the main element of the antifa black bloc continued to retreat into bordering residential areas.
Antifa chooses the residential areas for specific reasons. As the police deploy flashbangs, tear gas, and assorted non-lethal munitions in order to control the ongoing riot, the disruptive effects are experienced by the local residents. Additionally, as the action moved further into the poorly-lit neighborhoods, small groups of rioters and black bloc would break off to either escape, or engage in vandalism against the original PPB target (if left unguarded) or other nearby targets of opportunity.
The action concluded at some point in the early morning hours, usually 4-5 hours after the assembly in the designated park. The location was almost always shifted to a different location every night, very rarely going to the same location on successive nights. This means it's rare for the same location to be targeted more than twice in one week.
In the days following the action, antifa-affiliated medic collectives canvased the affected neighborhoods, passed out hand sanitizer, basic medical equipment, and flyers with tips on how to respond to tear gas exposure and ways to minimize contamination during the action. These efforts aimed at direct community engagement ''combined with traffic blockades and attempts to move community members away from the action as well as the images of alleged ''police brutality'' published by a sympathetic press- seeks to drive home the claim that the police are an invading force and the real source of tension and unrest.
The dilemma action put the police in a conundrum: police have a responsibility to enforce order and control space, so doing nothing and allowing antifa to occupy and destroy property causes them to appear weak and ineffectual, thus inciting further acts against police. If they appear to respond too aggressively however -or intercept the march before it reaches its location, giving grounds for claims of a first amendment violation- they risk facing allegations of being tyrannical and overbearing.
It is best to think of the ongoing situation in Portland not as a series of otherwise conventional riots, but rather as an insurgency taking place between dueling narratives. Antifa seeks to displace police and steal for itself the mantle of ''community defense,'' while pinning upon the police the blame for disruption they themselves have caused. The ultimately successful party will be the one that consistently pressures their opponent into playing the assigned role as ''the bad guys.''
To avoid falling for the dilemma action, law enforcement may wish to consider the following:
Avoid interdiction or extended pursuits into residential areas and try to keep the rioters contained within commercial districts and on main thoroughfares. While there is some risk of increased vandalism to local businesses; this disruption will be more readily laid at the feet of the rioters. Once the nightly target and perimeter is controlled and antifa is pushed from the vicinity, a defensive posture may prove to be the wiser course. This avoids the disruption to community life antifa seeks to provoke by forcing law enforcement to engage in residential areas.Alternatively, a limited, controlled push into residential areas may also work to balance community disruption with effective tactics. The rioters currently are focusing their vandalism and acts of physical destruction on a narrow list of targets located in largely suburban areas outside of the city center, however the residential areas themselves are not a target. Once the rioters have been physically separated from their objective and pushed into the neighborhood, consider halting the pursuit and focusing on ranged munitions to maintain sufficient distance. The goal should be to minimize physical contact, tear gas, and flash bang deployment in residential areas while frustrating antifa's desire to vandalize government facilities and provoke subjectively disproportionate police use of force.Use ranged riot control devices (such as pepper balls and impact munitions) sooner but in targeted fashion. Aim to disrupt early vandalism without engaging the larger crowd with direct force. Antifa counts on getting dramatic video of police resorting to physical force to disrupt their blocs.Consider traffic cordons outside the antifa perimeter. Minimize the general public's exposure to antifa traffic blockades, and prevent antifa and BLM from creating the impression -through checkpoints and road blocks- that they are the true authority. Additionally, road blocks have been a repeated source of conflict as rioters have repeatedly used overwhelming violence against resistant drivers.While police departments rarely expect to be loved by the population of the cities they serve, recent history has shown that support falling below certain levels risks a real loss of legitimacy, funding, and autonomy. The police are the real target in these latest actions, and their center of gravity is their relationship with their community and local government.
Noodle Gun
KFC drops 'Finger Lickin' Good' slogan amid coronavirus pandemic | WFLA
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 22:06
Hillsborough Co. students have some issues on first day of online learningHILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) - Hillsborough County School students logged on for online learning on Monday. The day was better for some than others.
Susan Duff's son is a high school sophomore and like many others, he experienced problems with the new online learning system.
Read the Full Article
Video Unemployment activist petitions to change state law in hopes of recalling governorTAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) -- A community activist is petitioning to amend Florida law in an effort she hopes will lead to Governor Ron DeSantis' recall from office.
Vanessa Brito has become the patron saint of Florida's unemployed, dedicating the last five months to helping people navigate the state's broken unemployment system and putting pressure on officials to fix it.
Read the Full Article
Man in Hong Kong becomes first known person to be infected with coronavirus twiceHONG KONG (KXAN) -- A 33-year-old man in Hong Kong has become the first documented case of re-infection of COVID-19, researchers in the area reported on Monday.
The man was previously infected just over four months ago and researchers say his second infection is asymptomatic.
Read the Full Article
Primary Password is replacing Master Password | Firefox Help
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 13:06
Firefox is removing terminology from the browser that has been identified as derogatory or exclusionary. We're listening to conversations happening within the Mozilla community and in the world at large, and are paying attention when people tell us that some terms we use in Firefox exclude and damage people.
'Master-slave' is a metaphor that perpetuates racism. Firefox strives for inclusion and clarity; we have no need for terms derived from harmful metaphors when we have plenty of alternatives that are more inclusive, more descriptive and non-racist. For this reason, all instances of Master Password are being replaced with Primary Password in the Firefox browsers and products.
Deprecating the term Master Password is also in accordance with the "Derogatory Language" section of the Mozilla Community Participation Guidelines.
These fine people helped write this article:
'Dungeons & Dragons' to change 'evil' races due to racial stereotypes - National | Globalnews.ca
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:26
The publisher of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) says it will adjust the way it portrays some of its ''evil'' races, such as the ''savage'' orcs and the ''depraved'' dark elves, as part of a broader push against racism in the wake of George Floyd's death.
The game's publisher, Wizards of the Coast, says the move is part of a company-wide effort to address content that ''does not reflect who we are today.'' Wizards previously made changes to Magic: The Gathering, another of its games, to remove racist or problematic cards from circulation.
Its changes to D&D will affect the role-playing game (RPG) and the wide range of novels inspired by the game.
Read more: 'Magic: The Gathering' bans racist cards from the game
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''Throughout the 50-year history of D&D, some of the peoples in the game '-- orcs and drow (dark elves) being two of the prime examples '-- have been characterized as monstrous and evil, using descriptions that are painfully reminiscent of how real-world ethnic groups have been and continue to be denigrated,'' Wizards said in a statement. ''That's just not right, and it's not something we believe in.''
The company says the current version of the RPG, known as 5th Edition, was designed to include a wide range of ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations and beliefs. However, Wizards acknowledged that some of its races are still steeped in old stereotypes, despite its ''conscious efforts'' to the contrary.
'''Human' in D&D means everyone, not just fantasy versions of northern Europeans,'' Wizards said in its statement.
The game has been accused in the past of using racially tinged language with its characterization of orcs, a muscular, green-skinned, tusk-toothed species found in many other fantasy worlds, including Lord of the Rings and Warcraft.
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Read more: Oregon honours wacky scheme with 'Exploding Whale Memorial Park'
Wizards also pledged to take a more nuanced approach with the way it portrays the drow, a race of dark-skinned elves that are depicted as evil, cave-dwelling murderers. The company's most famous fictional character, a drow named Drizzt Do'Urden, is commonly presented as the one exception: a hero who overcame his evil culture to become a good person.
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Wizards says it will try to present these races as ''just as morally and culturally complex as other peoples'' in both the RPG game and its various works of fiction. It also pledged to loosen up the RPG game's rules around racial bonuses, which previously deemed certain species to be stronger, smarter or more agile than others.
''This option emphasizes that each person in the game is an individual with capabilities all their own,'' the company said in its statement.
Read more: 'Final Fantasy' gamers hold online funeral for player who died of COVID-19
Wizards also promised to rectify the way it portrays the Vistani, a race that ''echoes some stereotypes associated with the Romani people in the real world.'' The company says it has enlisted a Romani consultant to help it avoid ''reductive tropes.''
Wizards of the Coast says it's working hard to recruit more writers and artists from a diverse pool of candidates so that it can bring a more nuanced and inclusive approach to its fantasy storytelling in the future.
''This part of our work will never end,'' the company said. ''We know that every day someone finds the courage to voice their truth, and we're here to listen.''
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(C) 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Obama Gate
John Brennan Was Put in a Perjury Trap Yesterday '-- A Completely Legitimate One
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 11:37
Former CIA Director John Brennan is sworn-in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, prior to testifying before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)John Brennan's long-time advisor Nick Shapiro put out a statement yesterday at the conclusion of Brennan's eight-hour interview with John Durham and his investigators.
It might all be true. All I have are opinions on the text and circumstances.
But I also know that the CIA is an institution designed to engage in manipulation using lies and deception '-- in a good way. It's how they accomplish their mission in defense of the country.
John Brennan is an embodiment of the CIA '-- it's all he's ever known. Its ethos oozes from his pores.
John Brennan wanted to send a message to the world yesterday after he finished his interview with John Durham. Oddly, he chose to do it through Nick Shapiro, and not himself. Nothing about Brennan or his history suggests Shapiro's message needs be credited with being truthful.
There are several reasons to read this message with a ''jaundiced eye'' and to recognize the ulterior motives for it.
First, it's not Brennan's statement. Shapiro issued the statement to Obama Administration scribe Natasha Bertrand at Politico '-- guaranteed to dutifully publish anything requested of her by a former Obama era intelligence official now living in fear. Shapiro then posted a string of eight Tweets on Twitter with the same text.
Both are devoid of any words actually spoken by Brennan '-- there are no quotations '-- nor is there any support offered for Shapiro's claims by anyone actually in the room, such as Brennan's attorneys.
Since when has Brennan been shy about saying anything on Twitter? Why would Brennan go ''third person'' and have his thoughts about the interview expressed only in the words of someone else? The most obvious reason is the statements are not going to be exactly accurate. Running them through a third person builds in a level of ''deniability'' on Brennan's part. Shapiro wasn't in the room for the interview. Shapiro is only putting out for public consumption what was told to him, and by phrasing it in the ''third person'' the way he has, it's not a statement ''by John Brennan'' nor is it endorsed by Brennan's counsel in the room. It is put out by a guy who has historically been in the role of misleading and misdirecting the press and the public on John Brennan's behalf. Yesterday's mission was no different.
Second, conducting the interview at the CIA facility is an interesting decision. Why not question him at DOJ or FBI HQ? The CIA is not a law enforcement agency. John Brennan no longer works for the CIA. Any CIA records that may have been needed over the course of the interview could have been made available in a secured facility at both those locations.
But that ''records'' excuse may have been the very justification given for the selection of the CIA HQ as the location for the interview.
DOJ and the FBI HQ are in Washington DC. CIA Headquarters is in Langley, Virginia.
If you are geographically challenged, you can read the distinction as ''United States District Court for the District of Columbia'' v. ''United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.'' If John Brennan offered any false answers to the investigators during the interview, the venue for that ''false statement'' crime is in the EDVA, not in DC federal court.
Third, Shapiro's statement claims that Brennan was told by Durham that he is neither a ''target'' nor ''subject,'' and that he is only a witness to events under review. Maybe that's true, but it does not sound true to me. And the statement does not say that comment was made to Brennan yesterday before the interview took place.
I can say that I had several occasions during my career as a prosecutor where criminal defense lawyers asked me similar questions about their client in response to an interview request. I can't say that I always refused to answer, but as a general matter my response was something that I learned when I was starting out from more experienced federal prosecutors '--
''Counsel, this interview today is voluntary. Your client is free to leave right now, and answer none of the questions we have. He's free to stop answering questions at any time while the interview is underway. He's free to ask to take a break, step outside the room with you, and then return to answer the question or not answer the question. What does he want to do?''
John Brennan could have been questioned before a grand jury, without the presence of his attorney in the room. That would be true IF, as suggested by Shapiro's statement, Brennan was only a ''witness''.
To explain that, let's take a moment to address the whole ''Target'' v. ''Subject'' v. ''Witness'' construct the press is so happy to report about.
Labeling an individual a ''target'' has a clear meaning in federal criminal prosecutions. It refers to someone about whom the prosecutor believes there is already sufficient admissible evidence to seek an indictment from a grand jury, and obtain a conviction at trial. The investigation is ongoing, but the grand jury already has identified a ''target'' for eventual prosecution.
Anyone who is ''not a target'' is '-- ''not a target''. There is no other ''classification'' of individuals with meaning. Many people in the business toss around the term ''subject'', but that is a ''made-up'' classification that does not exist. I have received ''Subject'' letters from prosecutors on behalf of clients, but those all involve a request to interview my client.
A ''Target'' letter is different. When you receive a ''Target'' letter it advises you that a federal grand jury has already received evidence upon which criminal charges may be issued in the future. It advises the ''Target'' that they should seek counsel, and if they cannot afford counsel they should contact the Federal Defender's Office in their district for legal representation. Once they have secured counsel, their lawyer should contact the prosecutor to discuss the matter.
The purpose behind a ''subject'' letter is merely to instill fear in the recipient and to ''encourage'' them to talk about others before others talk about them '-- as information from others might push them closer to the ''target'' category. Unwitting lawyers think there is meaning behind the ''subject'' designation but there is not. Fear is a great motivator. ''Doing unto others before they do unto you'' is sort of a universal maxim among the idiot criminal class.
So if you are not a ''target'' '-- meaning there isn't sufficient evidence at this time to charge you with a crime '-- then by default you are a ''witness.''
But ''witnesses'' can, and often do talk themselves into being ''targets'' during such interviews. That was the purpose of the interview, Mr. Brennan, not because you have some wonderful insights to provide Mr. Durham and his investigators to make their job easier.
One important distinction between ''target'' and ''witness'' that is not well understood, but might be in play here, is that it is against DOJ policy to issue a grand jury subpoena to someone who is already a ''target''.
A grand jury subpoena is a court order, under threat of contempt, to appear and answer questions under oath without the presence of counsel. If a person is already a ''Target'', the subpoena intrudes upon their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and to be represented by counsel while undergoing ''custodial'' interrogation '-- they are under subpoena after all. Witnesses before the grand jury are allowed to assert their Fifth Amendment right, but it forces them to assert that right before the grand jurors considering charges against them. The government is not allowed to call a criminal defendant to take the stand in his trial and force him to assert his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent in front of the jury. It is deemed prejudicial, and suggest to the jury that the defendant has something to hide. The same principle applies to calling a ''Target'' in front of a grand jury and forcing them to assert their right to remain silent in front of the grand jurors without counsel present.
So, if John Brennan isn't at least a potential ''target,'' why was he not called to explain historical events to the grand jury?
Finally, John Brennan has many times expressed the belief that any investigation initiated by the Trump Administration into the actions of Obama Administration officials to examine their conduct as it pertains to the investigation of the 2016 campaign, and the aftermath of Trump's election victory, is illegitimate. John Brennan has all but declared Trump's election to be illegitimate '-- heck, he might have said so outright.
So, it is not surprising at all that Shapiro '-- not Brennan '-- would claim:
Brennan questioned why the analytical tradecraft and findings of the ICA are being scrutinized by the Department of Justice, especially since they have been validated by the Mueller Report as well as the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence review.
The idea that Brennan ''questioned'' Durham on this topic does not confirm that Durham had any response to offer to Brennan's question. I suspect Durham did not react favorably '-- if it happened at all '-- to Brennan's suggestion that Durham's work was illegitimate or superfluous because of what others might have done, or not done as the case may be.
But John Brennan cannot help himself in this regard. The CIA is rarely put in a position of having to explain or defend its conduct '-- purposely and by design. But when John Brennan has been in that position in the past, he's been quite comfortable with lying in his responses. More of the same here.
John Durham and his team did not come to the decision to interview Brennan over the course of eight hours for the purpose of ''filling in the blanks'' on ''events that are under review.''
The purpose of the interview was to get Brennan to confirm or deny information that others have provided up to this point about Brennan, and what he instructed others to do.
John Brennan was placed into a perjury trap yesterday because he's shown himself willing to perjure himself in the past in order to evade scrutiny.
Yesterday, the ability to avoid the trap was completely within his control '-- all he had to do was tell the truth. For the most part, Durham's investigators knew the truth.
John Brennan doesn't come from a world of objective ''truths'' and ''lies''. For Brennan, the ''truth'' is always malleable to fit his needs at any given moment.
That's CIA tradecraft. He sees himself as a master of such ''dark arts'' based on his decades in DC. Others have long viewed him as a clown.
That's why, as a prosecutor, you save a liar like John Brennan for last. He can't help you because you can't rely on what he tells you.
So your interview is not done for the purpose of helping your case.
And you do it in Virginia and not DC because of what you plan to do next.
Middle East Deal
Iran strikes: Workers from oil, gas sector protest against lack of wages | Al Arabiya English
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 13:29
Iranian workers from various sectors in the country, including the critical oil and gas industries, went on strike on Saturday to protest the non-payment of their wages among other issues.
The strikes took place in various refineries in southern Iran where workers demanded months of arrear payments.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
Workers at the Qeshm heavy oil refinery, who work for several different contractors, say they have not been able to settle payment issues on a consistent basis with their employer in recent months.
However, a manager at the refinery told the semi-official ILNA news agency that the workers are only looking for a pay rise and have not had any delays in receiving their payments.
The Abadan oil refinery located in the southwestern Khuzestan province has also witnessed protests by workers in recent months, and these protests continued on Saturday.
Workers in phases 22 and 24 of South Pars, the world's largest gas field, also went on strike on Saturday with similar demands. Workers in these phases have gone on strike several times since 2017.
In recent years, non-payment of wages in Iran has been a major problem for workers which has led to them protesting and going on strikes in different parts of the country.
Saturday was day 48 of the Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Company workers' strike. Three members of parliament travelled to the city of Shush in oil-rich Khuzestan where the company is located on the same day to listen to the workers' demands, one of the MPs tweeted.
The Sugarcane Company workers' demands include payment of arrears and the return of ownership of the company to the public sector or to the workers themselves.
The Iranian regime does not tolerate labor protests. Many labor activists and workers including workers from the Sugarcane Company have been arrested and given harsh sentences.
Read more:
Iranians voice dismay after Iran opens supermarket in Venezuela
Head of US-based 'terrorist group' arrested, says Iran
Iran's IRGC says fires ballistic missiles from underground in Gulf war games
SHOW MORELast Update: Sunday, 02 August 2020 KSA 14:32 - GMT 11:32
Out There
NASA and FEMA prepare for Sept 20 Asteroid impact in California, off coast: Documents reveal
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 18:29
The National Aeronautics Space Administration and FEMA in 2017 devised and initiated a supposed fictitious scenario in which the two agencies would drill down on an asteroid that's set to impact the Earth in or just off the coast of California on September 20, 2020, but is this so-called ''exercise'' really just a drill?
NASA claims ''the simulation was designed to strengthen the collaboration between the two agencies, which have Administration direction to lead the U.S. response'' but could the drill actually go live like so many other drills have in the past? (i.e. the July 7, 2007, London bombing, the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and others)
''It's not a matter of if''but when''we will deal with such a situation,'' Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen said. ''But unlike any other time in our history, we now have the ability to respond to an impact threat through continued observations, predictions, response planning and mitigation.''
The exercise was designed to create ''a forum for the planetary science community to show how it would collect, analyze and share data about a hypothetical asteroid predicted to impact Earth. Emergency managers discussed how that data would be used to consider some of the unique challenges an asteroid impact would present-for preparedness, response and public warning,'' according to NASA.
Representatives from NASA, FEMA, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Department of Energy's National Laboratories, the U.S. Air Force, and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services attended the initial meeting and will be participating throughout the 4 year long excersise which is set to come to a head on Sept 20, 2020.
''It is critical to exercise these kinds of low-probability but high-consequence disaster scenarios,'' FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. ''By working through our emergency response plans now, we will be better prepared if and when we need to respond to such an event.''
The exercise simulates a possible impact four years from now in which, according to NASA, ''a fictitious asteroid imagined to have been discovered this fall with a 2 percent probability of impact with Earth on Sept. 20, 2020. The simulated asteroid was initially estimated to be between 300 and 800 feet (100 and 250 meters) in size, with a possibility of making impact anywhere along a long swath of Earth, including a narrow band of area that crossed the entire United States.''
''In the fictitious scenario, observers continued to track the asteroid for three months using ground-based telescope observations, and the probability of impact climbed to 65 percent. Then the next observations had to wait until four months later, due to the asteroid's position relative to the sun. Once observations could resume in May of 2017, the impact probability jumped to 100 percent. By November of 2017, it was simulated that the predicted impact would occur somewhere in a narrow band across Southern California or just off the coast in the Pacific Ocean.''
NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, To make matters worse, NASA has recently listed a real asteroid (not part of the drill) as making its close approach to Earth on Sept 20. The object dubbed 2017 SL16 just so happens to have been discovered in 2017 which corolates with the drill initiation date. This raises a major red flag.
NASA, JPL, CNEOS 2017 SL16 Close Approach Data (NASA, JPL, CNEOS) Making the scenario even more dramatic, role-players did not allow for deflection or mitigation of the earthbound asteroid and instead opted to forcefully evacuate residents from the city of Los Angeles.
''While mounting a deflection mission to move the asteroid off its collision course had been simulated in previous tabletop exercises, this particular exercise was designed so that the time to impact was too short for a deflection mission to be feasible '-- to pose a great future challenge to emergency managers faced with a mass evacuation of the metropolitan Los Angeles area.''
NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,''Scientists from JPL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and The Aerospace Corporation presented predicted impact footprint models, population displacement estimates, information on infrastructure that would be affected, as well as other data that could realistically be known at various points throughout the exercise scenario,'' NASA reports.
''The high degree of initial uncertainty coupled with the relatively long impact warning time made this scenario unique and especially challenging for emergency managers,'' FEMA National Response Coordination Branch Chief Leviticus A. Lewis said. ''It's quite different from preparing for an event with a much shorter timeline, such as a hurricane.''
As a caveat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated back in March that we are in a ''live exercise,'' potentially letting the cat out of the bag.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a slip of the tongue while addressing the American people from the White House when he stated that COVID-19 is a live military exercise.
''This is not about retribution,'' Pompeo explained. ''This matter is going forward '-- we are in a live exercise here to get this right.''
With a disgusted look on his face, President Trump replied: ''You should have let us know.''
Military Exercise meaning (from Wikipedia): ''A military exercise or war game is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the combat readiness of garrisoned or deployable forces prior to deployment from a home base.''
The question we must now ask is: will the drill go live?
Related video: They Said it Will Hit on Sunday, September 20, 2020
Please comment below in the comments section of the website and don't forget to share this post far and wide on all of your social media channels. Knowledge is power and without it we are powerless.
Shepard Ambellas is an opinion journalist, analyst, political pundit, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Intellihub News & Politics (Intellihub.com). Shepard is also known for producing Shade: The Motion Picture (2013) and appearing on Travel Channel's America Declassified (2013). Shepard is a contributor to Alex Jones' Infowars platform and is also a regular on Coast To Coast AM with George Noory.Read more from Shep's World. Follow Shep on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Shep's YouTube channel. Watch the Intellihub Podcast. Listen to The Shepard Ambellas Show which airs LIVE weekdays at 2 PM Pacific''that's 5 PM Eastern/4C on Shep's YouTube channel.The Shepard Ambellas Show is an all original fast-paced comedy, variety, news show where nearly everything goes. Shepard Ambellas is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular independent news website Intellihub.com (news and politics). Bethany Adoni sits shotgun. The Shepard Ambellas Show airs LIVE weekdays (Mon-Fri) on the Shepard Ambellas YouTube channel from 5-7 pm Eastern/4C/2P. Subscribe now! Turn notifications on immediately. The show is nationally syndicated on iHeart Radio. An archived version of the show is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, JioSaavn, and Spreaker for you listening pleasure.<<< Listen to The Shepard Ambellas Show weekdays on iHeartRadio >>>
Google Developers Blog: Firebase
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:48
Posted by Brahim Elbouchikhi, Director of Product Management and Matej Pfajfar, Engineering DirectorWe launched ML Kit at I/O last year with the mission to simplify Machine Learning for everyone. We couldn’t be happier about the experiences that ML Kit has enabled thousands of developers to create. And more importantly, user engagement with features powered by ML Kit is growing more than 60% per month. Below is a small sample of apps we have been working with.But there is a lot more. At I/O this year, we are excited to introduce four new features.The Object Detection and Tracking API lets you identify the prominent object in an image and then track it in real-time. You can pair this API with a cloud solution (e.g. Google Cloud’s Product Search API) to create a real-time visual search experience.When you pass an image or video stream to the API, it will return the coordinates of the primary object as well as a coarse classification. The API then provides a handle for tracking this object's coordinates over time.A number of partners have built experiences that are powered by this API already. For example, Adidas built a visual search experience right into their app. The On-device Translation API allows you to use the same offline models that support Google Translate to provide fast, dynamic translation of text in your app into 58 languages. This API operates entirely on-device so the context of the translated text never leaves the device.You can use this API to enable users to communicate with others who don't understand their language or translate user-generated content.To the right, we demonstrate the use of ML Kit’s text recognition, language detection, and translation APIs in one experience.We also collaborated with the Material Design team to produce a set of design patterns for integrating ML into your apps. We are open sourcing implementations of these patterns and hope that they will further accelerate your adoption of ML Kit and AI more broadly.Our design patterns for machine learning powered features will be available on the Material.io site.With AutoML Vision Edge, you can easily create custom image classification models tailored to your needs. For example, you may want your app to be able to identify different types of food, or distinguish between species of animals. Whatever your need, just upload your training data to the Firebase console and you can use Google’s AutoML technology to build a custom TensorFlow Lite model for you to run locally on your user's device. And if you find that collecting training datasets is hard, you can use our open source app which makes the process simpler and more collaborative.Wrapping upWe are excited by this first year and really hope that our progress will inspire you to get started with Machine Learning. Please head over to g.co/mlkit to learn more or visit Firebase to get started right away.Posted by Brahim Elbouchikhi, Director of Product Management and Matej Pfajfar, Engineering Director
We launched ML Kit at I/O last year with the mission to simplify Machine Learning for everyone. We couldn’t be happier about the experiences that ML Kit has enabled thousands of developers to create. And more importantly, user engagement with features powered by ML Kit is growing more than 60% per month. Below is a small sample of apps we have been working with.
But there is a lot more. At I/O this year, we are excited to introduce four new features.
The Object Detection and Tracking API lets you identify the prominent object in an image and then track it in real-time. You can pair this API with a cloud solution (e.g. Google Cloud’s Product Search API) to create a real-time visual search experience.
When you pass an image or video stream to the API, it will return the coordinates of the primary object as well as a coarse classification. The API then provides a handle for tracking this object's coordinates over time.
A number of partners have built experiences that are powered by this API already. For example, Adidas built a visual search experience right into their app.
The On-device Translation API allows you to use the same offline models that support Google Translate to provide fast, dynamic translation of text in your app into 58 languages. This API operates entirely on-device so the context of the translated text never leaves the device.
You can use this API to enable users to communicate with others who don't understand their language or translate user-generated content.
To the right, we demonstrate the use of ML Kit’s text recognition, language detection, and translation APIs in one experience.
We also collaborated with the Material Design team to produce a set of design patterns for integrating ML into your apps. We are open sourcing implementations of these patterns and hope that they will further accelerate your adoption of ML Kit and AI more broadly.
Our design patterns for machine learning powered features will be available on the Material.io site.
With AutoML Vision Edge, you can easily create custom image classification models tailored to your needs. For example, you may want your app to be able to identify different types of food, or distinguish between species of animals. Whatever your need, just upload your training data to the Firebase console and you can use Google’s AutoML technology to build a custom TensorFlow Lite model for you to run locally on your user's device. And if you find that collecting training datasets is hard, you can use our open source app which makes the process simpler and more collaborative.
Wrapping up
We are excited by this first year and really hope that our progress will inspire you to get started with Machine Learning. Please head over to g.co/mlkit to learn more or visit Firebase to get started right away.
Posted by Mertcan Mermerkaya, Software EngineerWe have great news for web developers that use Firebase Cloud Messaging to send notifications to clients! The FCM v1 REST API has integrated fully with the Web Notifications API. This integration allows you to set icons, images, actions and more for your Web notifications from your server! Better yet, as the Web Notifications API continues to grow and change, these options will be immediately available to you. You won't have to wait for an update to FCM to support them!Below is a sample payload you can send to your web clients on Push API supported browsers. This notification would be useful for a web app that supports image posting. It can encourage users to engage with the app.{  "message": {    "webpush": {      "notification": {        "title": "Fish Photos 🐟",        "body":          "Thanks for signing up for Fish Photos! You now will receive fun daily photos of fish!",        "icon": "firebase-logo.png",        "image": "guppies.jpg",        "data": {          "notificationType": "fishPhoto",          "photoId": "123456"        },        "click_action": "https://example.com/fish_photos",        "actions": [          {            "title": "Like",            "action": "like",            "icon": "icons/heart.png"          },          {            "title": "Unsubscribe",            "action": "unsubscribe",            "icon": "icons/cross.png"          }        ]      }    },    "token": "<APP_INSTANCE_REGISTRATION_TOKEN>"  }}Notice that you are able to set new parameters, such as actions, which gives the user different ways to interact with the notification. In the example below, users have the option to choose from actions to like the photo or to unsubscribe. To handle action clicks in your app, you need to add an event listener in the default firebase-messaging-sw.js file (or your custom service worker). If an action button was clicked, event.action will contain the string that identifies the clicked action. Here's how to handle the "like" and "unsubscribe" events on the client:// Retrieve an instance of Firebase Messaging so that it can handle background messages.const messaging = firebase.messaging();// Add an event listener to handle notification clicksself.addEventListener('notificationclick', function(event) {   if (event.action === 'like') {       // Like button was clicked       const photoId = event.notification.data.photoId;       like(photoId);   }   else if (event.action === 'unsubscribe') {       // Unsubscribe button was clicked       const notificationType = event.notification.data.notificationType;       unsubscribe(notificationType);   }   event.notification.close();});The SDK will still handle regular notification clicks and redirect the user to your click_action link if provided. To see more on how to handle click actions on the client, check out the guide.Since different browsers support different parameters in different platforms, it's important to check out the browser compatibility documentation to ensure your notifications work as intended. Want to learn more about what the Send API can do? Check out the FCM Send API documentation and the Web Notifications API documentation. If you're using the FCM Send API and you incorporate the Web Notifications API in a cool way, then let us know! Find Firebase on Twitter at @Firebase, and Facebook and Google+ by searching "Firebase".                            Posted by Mertcan Mermerkaya, Software Engineer
We have great news for web developers that use Firebase Cloud Messaging to send notifications to clients! The FCM v1 REST API has integrated fully with the Web Notifications API. This integration allows you to set icons, images, actions and more for your Web notifications from your server! Better yet, as the Web Notifications API continues to grow and change, these options will be immediately available to you. You won't have to wait for an update to FCM to support them! 
Below is a sample payload you can send to your web clients on Push API supported browsers. This notification would be useful for a web app that supports image posting. It can encourage users to engage with the app. 
{  "message": {    "webpush": {      "notification": {        "title": "Fish Photos 🐟",        "body":          "Thanks for signing up for Fish Photos! You now will receive fun daily photos of fish!",        "icon": "firebase-logo.png",        "image": "guppies.jpg",        "data": {          "notificationType": "fishPhoto",          "photoId": "123456"        },        "click_action": "https://example.com/fish_photos",        "actions": [          {            "title": "Like",            "action": "like",            "icon": "icons/heart.png"          },          {            "title": "Unsubscribe",            "action": "unsubscribe",            "icon": "icons/cross.png"          }        ]      }    },    "token": "<APP_INSTANCE_REGISTRATION_TOKEN>"  }}Notice that you are able to set new parameters, such as actions, which gives the user different ways to interact with the notification. In the example below, users have the option to choose from actions to like the photo or to unsubscribe.
To handle action clicks in your app, you need to add an event listener in the default firebase-messaging-sw.js file (or your custom service worker). If an action button was clicked, event.action will contain the string that identifies the clicked action. Here's how to handle the "like" and "unsubscribe" events on the client:
// Retrieve an instance of Firebase Messaging so that it can handle background messages.const messaging = firebase.messaging();// Add an event listener to handle notification clicksself.addEventListener('notificationclick', function(event) {   if (event.action === 'like') {       // Like button was clicked       const photoId = event.notification.data.photoId;       like(photoId);   }   else if (event.action === 'unsubscribe') {       // Unsubscribe button was clicked       const notificationType = event.notification.data.notificationType;       unsubscribe(notificationType);   }   event.notification.close();});The SDK will still handle regular notification clicks and redirect the user to your click_action link if provided. To see more on how to handle click actions on the client, check out the guide.
Since different browsers support different parameters in different platforms, it's important to check out the browser compatibility documentation to ensure your notifications work as intended. Want to learn more about what the Send API can do? Check out the FCM Send API documentation and the Web Notifications API documentation. If you're using the FCM Send API and you incorporate the Web Notifications API in a cool way, then let us know! Find Firebase on Twitter at @Firebase, and Facebook and Google+ by searching "Firebase".
Posted by Brahim Elbouchikhi, Product ManagerIn today's fast-moving world, people have come to expect mobile apps to be intelligent - adapting to users' activity or delighting them with surprising smarts. As a result, we think machine learning will become an essential tool in mobile development. That's why on Tuesday at Google I/O, we introduced ML Kit in beta: a new SDK that brings Google's machine learning expertise to mobile developers in a powerful, yet easy-to-use package on Firebase. We couldn't be more excited! Machine learning for all skill levelsGetting started with machine learning can be difficult for many developers. Typically, new ML developers spend countless hours learning the intricacies of implementing low-level models, using frameworks, and more. Even for the seasoned expert, adapting and optimizing models to run on mobile devices can be a huge undertaking. Beyond the machine learning complexities, sourcing training data can be an expensive and time consuming process, especially when considering a global audience.With ML Kit, you can use machine learning to build compelling features, on Android and iOS, regardless of your machine learning expertise. More details below!Production-ready for common use casesIf you're a beginner who just wants to get the ball rolling, ML Kit gives you five ready-to-use ("base") APIs that address common mobile use cases:Text recognitionFace detectionBarcode scanningImage labelingLandmark recognitionWith these base APIs, you simply pass in data to ML Kit and get back an intuitive response. For example: Lose It!, one of our early users, used ML Kit to build several features in the latest version of their calorie tracker app. Using our text recognition based API and a custom built model, their app can quickly capture nutrition information from product labels to input a food's content from an image.ML Kit gives you both on-device and Cloud APIs, all in a common and simple interface, allowing you to choose the ones that fit your requirements best. The on-device APIs process data quickly and will work even when there's no network connection, while the cloud-based APIs leverage the power of Google Cloud Platform's machine learning technology to give a higher level of accuracy.See these APIs in action on your Firebase console:Heads up: We're planning to release two more APIs in the coming months. First is a smart reply API allowing you to support contextual messaging replies in your app, and the second is a high density face contour addition to the face detection API. Sign up here to give them a try!Deploy custom modelsIf you're seasoned in machine learning and you don't find a base API that covers your use case, ML Kit lets you deploy your own TensorFlow Lite models. You simply upload them via the Firebase console, and we'll take care of hosting and serving them to your app's users. This way you can keep your models out of your APK/bundles which reduces your app install size. Also, because ML Kit serves your model dynamically, you can always update your model without having to re-publish your apps.But there is more. As apps have grown to do more, their size has increased, harming app store install rates, and with the potential to cost users more in data overages. Machine learning can further exacerbate this trend since models can reach 10's of megabytes in size. So we decided to invest in model compression. Specifically, we are experimenting with a feature that allows you to upload a full TensorFlow model, along with training data, and receive in return a compressed TensorFlow Lite model. The technology behind this is evolving rapidly and so we are looking for a few developers to try it and give us feedback. If you are interested, please sign up here.Better together with other Firebase productsSince ML Kit is available through Firebase, it's easy for you to take advantage of the broader Firebase platform. For example, Remote Config and A/B testing lets you experiment with multiple custom models. You can dynamically switch values in your app, making it a great fit to swap the custom models you want your users to use on the fly. You can even create population segments and experiment with several models in parallel.Other examples include:storing your image labels in Cloud Firestoremeasuring processing latency with Performance Monitoringunderstand the impact of user engagement with Google Analyticsand moreGet started!We can't wait to see what you'll build with ML Kit. We hope you'll love the product like many of our early customers:Get started with the ML Kit beta by visiting your Firebase console today. If you have any thoughts or feedback, feel free to let us know - we're always listening!Posted by Brahim Elbouchikhi, Product Manager
In today's fast-moving world, people have come to expect mobile apps to be intelligent - adapting to users' activity or delighting them with surprising smarts. As a result, we think machine learning will become an essential tool in mobile development. That's why on Tuesday at Google I/O, we introduced ML Kit in beta: a new SDK that brings Google's machine learning expertise to mobile developers in a powerful, yet easy-to-use package on Firebase. We couldn't be more excited!
Machine learning for all skill levelsGetting started with machine learning can be difficult for many developers. Typically, new ML developers spend countless hours learning the intricacies of implementing low-level models, using frameworks, and more. Even for the seasoned expert, adapting and optimizing models to run on mobile devices can be a huge undertaking. Beyond the machine learning complexities, sourcing training data can be an expensive and time consuming process, especially when considering a global audience.
With ML Kit, you can use machine learning to build compelling features, on Android and iOS, regardless of your machine learning expertise. More details below!
Production-ready for common use casesIf you're a beginner who just wants to get the ball rolling, ML Kit gives you five ready-to-use ("base") APIs that address common mobile use cases:
Text recognitionFace detectionBarcode scanningImage labelingLandmark recognitionWith these base APIs, you simply pass in data to ML Kit and get back an intuitive response. For example: Lose It!, one of our early users, used ML Kit to build several features in the latest version of their calorie tracker app. Using our text recognition based API and a custom built model, their app can quickly capture nutrition information from product labels to input a food's content from an image.
ML Kit gives you both on-device and Cloud APIs, all in a common and simple interface, allowing you to choose the ones that fit your requirements best. The on-device APIs process data quickly and will work even when there's no network connection, while the cloud-based APIs leverage the power of Google Cloud Platform's machine learning technology to give a higher level of accuracy.
See these APIs in action on your Firebase console:
Heads up: We're planning to release two more APIs in the coming months. First is a smart reply API allowing you to support contextual messaging replies in your app, and the second is a high density face contour addition to the face detection API. Sign up here to give them a try!
Deploy custom modelsIf you're seasoned in machine learning and you don't find a base API that covers your use case, ML Kit lets you deploy your own TensorFlow Lite models. You simply upload them via the Firebase console, and we'll take care of hosting and serving them to your app's users. This way you can keep your models out of your APK/bundles which reduces your app install size. Also, because ML Kit serves your model dynamically, you can always update your model without having to re-publish your apps.
But there is more. As apps have grown to do more, their size has increased, harming app store install rates, and with the potential to cost users more in data overages. Machine learning can further exacerbate this trend since models can reach 10's of megabytes in size. So we decided to invest in model compression. Specifically, we are experimenting with a feature that allows you to upload a full TensorFlow model, along with training data, and receive in return a compressed TensorFlow Lite model. The technology behind this is evolving rapidly and so we are looking for a few developers to try it and give us feedback. If you are interested, please sign up here.
Better together with other Firebase productsSince ML Kit is available through Firebase, it's easy for you to take advantage of the broader Firebase platform. For example, Remote Config and A/B testing lets you experiment with multiple custom models. You can dynamically switch values in your app, making it a great fit to swap the custom models you want your users to use on the fly. You can even create population segments and experiment with several models in parallel.
Other examples include:
storing your image labels in Cloud Firestoremeasuring processing latency with Performance Monitoringunderstand the impact of user engagement with Google Analyticsand moreGet started!We can't wait to see what you'll build with ML Kit. We hope you'll love the product like many of our early customers:
Get started with the ML Kit beta by visiting your Firebase console today. If you have any thoughts or feedback, feel free to let us know - we're always listening!
Posted by Michael Hermanto, Software Engineer, FirebaseWe launched the Google URL Shortener back in 2009 as a way to help people more easily share links and measure traffic online. Since then, many popular URL shortening services have emerged and the ways people find content on the Internet have also changed dramatically, from primarily desktop webpages to apps, mobile devices, home assistants, and more.To refocus our efforts, we're turning down support for goo.gl over the coming weeks and replacing it with Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL). FDLs are smart URLs that allow you to send existing and potential users to any location within an iOS, Android or web app. We're excited to grow and improve the product going forward. While most features of goo.gl will eventually sunset, all existing links will continue to redirect to the intended destination.For consumersStarting April 13, 2018, anonymous users and users who have never created short links before today will not be able to create new short links via the goo.gl console. If you are looking to create new short links, we recommend you check out popular services like Bitly and Ow.ly as an alternative.If you have existing goo.gl short links, you can continue to use all features of goo.gl console for a period of one year, until March 30, 2019, when we will discontinue the console. You can manage all your short links and their analytics through the goo.gl console during this period.After March 30, 2019, all links will continue to redirect to the intended destination. Your existing short links will not be migrated to the Firebase console, however, you will be able to export your link information from the goo.gl console.For developersStarting May 30, 2018, only projects that have accessed URL Shortener APIs before today can create short links. To create new short links, we recommend FDL APIs. FDL short links will automatically detect the user's platform and send the user to either the web or your app, as appropriate.If you are already calling URL Shortener APIs to manage goo.gl short links, you can continue to use them for a period of one year, until March 30, 2019, when we will discontinue the APIs. For developers looking to migrate to FDL see our migration guide.As it is for consumers, all links will continue to redirect to the intended destination after March 30, 2019. However, existing short links will not be migrated to the Firebase console/API.URL Shortener has been a great tool that we're proud to have built. As we look towards the future, we're excited about the possibilities of Firebase Dynamic Links, particularly when it comes to dynamic platform detection and links that survive the app installation process. We hope you are too!Posted by Michael Hermanto, Software Engineer, FirebaseWe launched the Google URL Shortener back in 2009 as a way to help people more easily share links and measure traffic online. Since then, many popular URL shortening services have emerged and the ways people find content on the Internet have also changed dramatically, from primarily desktop webpages to apps, mobile devices, home assistants, and more.
To refocus our efforts, we're turning down support for goo.gl over the coming weeks and replacing it with Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL). FDLs are smart URLs that allow you to send existing and potential users to any location within an iOS, Android or web app. We're excited to grow and improve the product going forward. While most features of goo.gl will eventually sunset, all existing links will continue to redirect to the intended destination.
For consumersStarting April 13, 2018, anonymous users and users who have never created short links before today will not be able to create new short links via the goo.gl console. If you are looking to create new short links, we recommend you check out popular services like Bitly and Ow.ly as an alternative.
If you have existing goo.gl short links, you can continue to use all features of goo.gl console for a period of one year, until March 30, 2019, when we will discontinue the console. You can manage all your short links and their analytics through the goo.gl console during this period.
After March 30, 2019, all links will continue to redirect to the intended destination. Your existing short links will not be migrated to the Firebase console, however, you will be able to export your link information from the goo.gl console.
For developersStarting May 30, 2018, only projects that have accessed URL Shortener APIs before today can create short links. To create new short links, we recommend FDL APIs. FDL short links will automatically detect the user's platform and send the user to either the web or your app, as appropriate.
If you are already calling URL Shortener APIs to manage goo.gl short links, you can continue to use them for a period of one year, until March 30, 2019, when we will discontinue the APIs. For developers looking to migrate to FDL see our migration guide.
As it is for consumers, all links will continue to redirect to the intended destination after March 30, 2019. However, existing short links will not be migrated to the Firebase console/API.
URL Shortener has been a great tool that we're proud to have built. As we look towards the future, we're excited about the possibilities of Firebase Dynamic Links, particularly when it comes to dynamic platform detection and links that survive the app installation process. We hope you are too!
Originally posted on the Firebase Blog by Jason St. Pierre, Product Manager.Back in October, we were thrilled to launch a beta version of Firebase Crashlytics. As the top ranked mobile app crash reporter for over 3 years running, Crashlytics helps you track, prioritize, and fix stability issues in realtime. It's been exciting to see all the positive reactions, as thousands of you have upgraded to Crashlytics in Firebase!Today, we're graduating Firebase Crashlytics out of beta. As the default crash reporter for Firebase going forward, Crashlytics is the next evolution of the crash reporting capabilities of our platform. It empowers you to achieve everything you want to with Firebase Crash Reporting, plus much more.This release include several major new features in addition to our stamp of approval when it comes to service reliability. Here's what's new.Integration with Analytics eventsWe heard from many of you that you love Firebase Crash Reporting's "breadcrumbs" feature. (Breadcrumbs are the automatically created Analytics events that help you retrace user actions preceding a crash.) Starting today, you can see these breadcrumbs within the Crashlytics section of the Firebase console, helping you to triage issues more easily.To use breadcrumbs on Crashlytics, install the latest SDK and enable Google Analytics for Firebase. If you already have Analytics enabled, the feature will automatically start working.Crash insightsBy broadly analyzing aggregated crash data for common trends, Crashlytics automatically highlights potential root causes and gives you additional context on the underlying problems. For example, it can reveal how widespread incorrect UIKit rendering was in your app so you would know to address that issue first. Crash insights allows you to make more informed decisions on what actions to take, save time on triaging issues, and maximize the impact of your debugging efforts.From our community:"In the few weeks that we've been working with Crashlytics' crash insights, it's been quite helpful on a few particularly pesky issues. The description and quality of the linked resources makes it easy to immediately start debugging." - Marc Bernstein, Software Development Team Lead, HudlPinning important buildsGenerally, you have a few builds you care most about, while others aren't as important at the moment. With this new release of Crashlytics, you can now "pin" your most important builds which will appear at the top of the console. Your pinned builds will also appear on your teammates' consoles so it's easier to collaborate with them. This can be especially helpful when you have a large team with hundreds of builds and millions of users.dSYM uploadingTo show you stability issues, Crashlytics automatically uploads your dSYM files in the background to symbolicate your crashes. However, some complex situations can arise (i.e. Bitcode compiled apps) and prevent your dSYMs from being uploaded properly. That's why today we're also releasing a new dSYM uploader tool within your Crashlytics console. Now, you can manually upload your dSYM for cases where it cannot be automatically uploaded.Firebase's default crash reporterWith today's GA release of Firebase Crashlytics, we've decided to sunset Firebase Crash Reporting, so we can best serve you by focusing our efforts on one crash reporter. Starting today, you'll notice the console has changed to only list Crashlytics in the navigation. If you need to access your existing crash data in Firebase Crash Reporting, you can use the app picker to switch from Crashlytics to Crash Reporting.Firebase Crash Reporting will continue to be functional until September 8th, 2018 - at which point it will be retired fully.Upgrading to Crashlytics is easy: just visit your project's console, choose Crashlytics in the left navigation and click "Set up Crashlytics":Linking Fabric and Firebase CrashlyticsIf you're currently using both Firebase and Fabric, you can now link the two to see your existing crash data within the Firebase console. To get started, click "Link app in Fabric" within the console and go through the flow on fabric.io:If you are only using Fabric right now, you don't need to take any action. We'll be building out a new flow in the coming months to help you seamlessly link your existing app(s) from Fabric to Firebase. In the meantime, we encourage you to try other Firebase products.We are excited to bring you the best-in class crash reporter in the Firebase console. As always, let us know your thoughts and we look forward to continuing to improve Crashlytics. Happy debugging!#crashImg {width: 100%;margin: 10px 0;}Originally posted on the Firebase Blog by Jason St. Pierre, Product Manager.Back in October, we were thrilled to launch a beta version of Firebase Crashlytics. As the top ranked mobile app crash reporter for over 3 years running, Crashlytics helps you track, prioritize, and fix stability issues in realtime. It's been exciting to see all the positive reactions, as thousands of you have upgraded to Crashlytics in Firebase!
Today, we're graduating Firebase Crashlytics out of beta. As the default crash reporter for Firebase going forward, Crashlytics is the next evolution of the crash reporting capabilities of our platform. It empowers you to achieve everything you want to with Firebase Crash Reporting, plus much more.
This release include several major new features in addition to our stamp of approval when it comes to service reliability. Here's what's new.
Integration with Analytics eventsWe heard from many of you that you love Firebase Crash Reporting's "breadcrumbs" feature. (Breadcrumbs are the automatically created Analytics events that help you retrace user actions preceding a crash.) Starting today, you can see these breadcrumbs within the Crashlytics section of the Firebase console, helping you to triage issues more easily.
To use breadcrumbs on Crashlytics, install the latest SDK and enable Google Analytics for Firebase. If you already have Analytics enabled, the feature will automatically start working.
Crash insightsBy broadly analyzing aggregated crash data for common trends, Crashlytics automatically highlights potential root causes and gives you additional context on the underlying problems. For example, it can reveal how widespread incorrect UIKit rendering was in your app so you would know to address that issue first. Crash insights allows you to make more informed decisions on what actions to take, save time on triaging issues, and maximize the impact of your debugging efforts.
From our community:
"In the few weeks that we've been working with Crashlytics' crash insights, it's been quite helpful on a few particularly pesky issues. The description and quality of the linked resources makes it easy to immediately start debugging." - Marc Bernstein, Software Development Team Lead, Hudl
Pinning important buildsGenerally, you have a few builds you care most about, while others aren't as important at the moment. With this new release of Crashlytics, you can now "pin" your most important builds which will appear at the top of the console. Your pinned builds will also appear on your teammates' consoles so it's easier to collaborate with them. This can be especially helpful when you have a large team with hundreds of builds and millions of users.
dSYM uploadingTo show you stability issues, Crashlytics automatically uploads your dSYM files in the background to symbolicate your crashes. However, some complex situations can arise (i.e. Bitcode compiled apps) and prevent your dSYMs from being uploaded properly. That's why today we're also releasing a new dSYM uploader tool within your Crashlytics console. Now, you can manually upload your dSYM for cases where it cannot be automatically uploaded.
Firebase's default crash reporterWith today's GA release of Firebase Crashlytics, we've decided to sunset Firebase Crash Reporting, so we can best serve you by focusing our efforts on one crash reporter. Starting today, you'll notice the console has changed to only list Crashlytics in the navigation. If you need to access your existing crash data in Firebase Crash Reporting, you can use the app picker to switch from Crashlytics to Crash Reporting.
Firebase Crash Reporting will continue to be functional until September 8th, 2018 - at which point it will be retired fully .
Upgrading to Crashlytics is easy: just visit your project's console, choose Crashlytics in the left navigation and click "Set up Crashlytics":
Linking Fabric and Firebase CrashlyticsIf you're currently using both Firebase and Fabric, you can now link the two to see your existing crash data within the Firebase console. To get started, click "Link app in Fabric" within the console and go through the flow on fabric.io:
If you are only using Fabric right now, you don't need to take any action. We'll be building out a new flow in the coming months to help you seamlessly link your existing app(s) from Fabric to Firebase. In the meantime, we encourage you to try other Firebase products.
We are excited to bring you the best-in class crash reporter in the Firebase console. As always, let us know your thoughts and we look forward to continuing to improve Crashlytics. Happy debugging!
#crashImg {width: 100%;margin: 10px 0;} Originally posted by Alex Dufetel on the Firebase BlogToday we're excited to launch Cloud Firestore, a fully-managed NoSQL documentdatabase for mobile and web app development. It's designed to easily store andsync app data at global scale, and it's now available in beta.Key features of Cloud Firestore include:Documents and collections with powerful queryingiOS, Android, and Web SDKs with offline data accessReal-time data synchronizationAutomatic, multi-region data replication with strong consistencyNode, Python, Go, and Java server SDKsAnd of course, we've aimed for the simplicity and ease-of-use that is always toppriority for Firebase, while still making sure that Cloud Firestore can scale topower even the largest apps.Optimized for app developmentManaging app data is still hard; you have to scale servers, handle intermittentconnectivity, and deliver data with low latency.We've optimized Cloud Firestore for app development, so you can focus ondelivering value to your users and shipping better apps, faster. CloudFirestore:Synchronizes data between devices in real-time. OurAndroid, iOS, and Javascript SDKs sync your app data almost instantly. Thismakes it incredibly easy to build reactive apps, automatically sync data acrossdevices, and build powerful collaborative features -- and if you don't needreal-time sync, one-time reads are a first-class feature.Uses collections and documents to structure and query data.This data model is familiar and intuitive for many developers. It also allowsfor expressive queries. Queries scale with the size of your result set, not thesize of your data set, so you'll get the same performance fetching 1 result froma set of 100, or 100,000,000.Enables offline data access via a powerful, on-devicedatabase. This local database means your app will function smoothly,even when your users lose connectivity. This offline mode is available on Web,iOS and Android.Enables serverless development. Cloud Firestore'sclient-side SDKs take care of the complex authentication and networking codeyou'd normally need to write yourself. Then, on the backend, we provide apowerful set of security rules so you can control access to your data. Securityrules let you control which users can access which documents, and let you applycomplex validation logic to your data as well. Combined, these features allowyour mobile app to connect directly to your database.Integrates with the rest of the Firebase platform. You caneasily configure Cloud Functions to run custom code whenever data is written,and our SDKs automatically integrate with Firebase Authentication, to help youget started quickly.Putting the 'Cloud' in Cloud FirestoreAs you may have guessed from the name, Cloud Firestore was built in closecollaboration with the Google Cloud Platform team.This means it's a fully managed product, built from the ground up toautomatically scale. Cloud Firestore is a multi-region replicated database thatensures once data is committed, it's durable even in the face of unexpecteddisasters. Not only that, but despite being a distributed database, it's alsostrongly consistent, removing tricky edge cases to make building apps easierregardless of scale.It also means that delivering a great server-side experience for backenddevelopers is a top priority. We're launching SDKs for Java, Go, Python, andNode.js today, with more languages coming in the future.Another database?Over the last 3 years Firebase has grown to become Google's app developmentplatform; it now has 16 products to build and grow your app. If you've usedFirebase before, you know we already offer a database, the Firebase RealtimeDatabase, which helps with some of the challenges listed above.The Firebase Realtime Database, with its client SDKs and real-time capabilities,is all about making app development faster and easier. Since its launch, it hasbeen adopted by hundred of thousands of developers, and as its adoption grew, sodid usage patterns. Developers began using the Realtime Database for morecomplex data and to build bigger apps, pushing the limits of the JSON data modeland the performance of the database at scale.Cloud Firestore is inspired bywhat developers love most about the Firebase Realtime Database while alsoaddressing its key limitations like data structuring, querying, and scaling.So, if you're a Firebase Realtime Database user today, we think you'll loveCloud Firestore. However, this does not mean that Cloud Firestore is a drop-inreplacement for the Firebase Realtime Database. For some use cases, it may makesense to use the Realtime Database to optimize for cost and latency, and it'salso easy to use both databases together. You can read a more in-depthcomparison between the two databases here.We're continuing development on both databases and they'll both be available inour console and documentation.Get started!Cloud Firestore enters public beta starting today. If you're comfortable using abeta product you should give it a spin on your next project! Here are some ofthe companies and startups who are already building with Cloud Firestore:Get started by visiting the database tab in your Firebaseconsole. For more details, see the documentation, pricing, codesamples, performancelimitations during beta, and view our open source iOS and JavaScript SDKs onGitHub.
We can't wait to see what you build and hear what you think of Cloud Firestore!
Originally posted by Alex Dufetel on the Firebase BlogToday we're excited to launch Cloud Firestore, a fully-managed NoSQL documentdatabase for mobile and web app development. It's designed to easily store andsync app data at global scale, and it's now available in beta.
Key features of Cloud Firestore include:
Documents and collections with powerful queryingiOS, Android, and Web SDKs with offline data accessReal-time data synchronizationAutomatic, multi-region data replication with strong consistencyNode, Python, Go, and Java server SDKs And of course, we've aimed for the simplicity and ease-of-use that is always toppriority for Firebase, while still making sure that Cloud Firestore can scale topower even the largest apps.
Optimized for app developmentManaging app data is still hard; you have to scale servers, handle intermittentconnectivity, and deliver data with low latency.
We've optimized Cloud Firestore for app development, so you can focus ondelivering value to your users and shipping better apps, faster. CloudFirestore:
Synchronizes data between devices in real-time. OurAndroid, iOS, and Javascript SDKs sync your app data almost instantly. Thismakes it incredibly easy to build reactive apps, automatically sync data acrossdevices, and build powerful collaborative features -- and if you don't needreal-time sync, one-time reads are a first-class feature.Uses collections and documents to structure and query data.This data model is familiar and intuitive for many developers. It also allowsfor expressive queries. Queries scale with the size of your result set, not thesize of your data set, so you'll get the same performance fetching 1 result froma set of 100, or 100,000,000.Enables offline data access via a powerful, on-devicedatabase. This local database means your app will function smoothly,even when your users lose connectivity. This offline mode is available on Web,iOS and Android.Enables serverless development. Cloud Firestore'sclient-side SDKs take care of the complex authentication and networking codeyou'd normally need to write yourself. Then, on the backend, we provide apowerful set of security rules so you can control access to your data. Securityrules let you control which users can access which documents, and let you applycomplex validation logic to your data as well. Combined, these features allowyour mobile app to connect directly to your database.Integrates with the rest of the Firebase platform. You caneasily configure Cloud Functions to run custom code whenever data is written,and our SDKs automatically integrate with Firebase Authentication, to help youget started quickly.Putting the 'Cloud' in Cloud Firestore As you may have guessed from the name, Cloud Firestore was built in closecollaboration with the Google Cloud Platform team.
This means it's a fully managed product, built from the ground up toautomatically scale. Cloud Firestore is a multi-region replicated database thatensures once data is committed, it's durable even in the face of unexpecteddisasters. Not only that, but despite being a distributed database, it's alsostrongly consistent, removing tricky edge cases to make building apps easierregardless of scale.
It also means that delivering a great server-side experience for backenddevelopers is a top priority. We're launching SDKs for Java, Go, Python, andNode.js today, with more languages coming in the future.
Another database?Over the last 3 years Firebase has grown to become Google's app developmentplatform; it now has 16 products to build and grow your app. If you've usedFirebase before, you know we already offer a database, the Firebase RealtimeDatabase, which helps with some of the challenges listed above.
The Firebase Realtime Database, with its client SDKs and real-time capabilities,is all about making app development faster and easier. Since its launch, it hasbeen adopted by hundred of thousands of developers, and as its adoption grew, sodid usage patterns. Developers began using the Realtime Database for morecomplex data and to build bigger apps, pushing the limits of the JSON data modeland the performance of the database at scale.Cloud Firestore is inspired bywhat developers love most about the Firebase Realtime Database while alsoaddressing its key limitations like data structuring, querying, and scaling.
So, if you're a Firebase Realtime Database user today, we think you'll loveCloud Firestore. However, this does not mean that Cloud Firestore is a drop-inreplacement for the Firebase Realtime Database. For some use cases, it may makesense to use the Realtime Database to optimize for cost and latency, and it'salso easy to use both databases together. You can read a more in-depthcomparison between the two databases here.
We're continuing development on both databases and they'll both be available inour console and documentation.
Get started!Cloud Firestore enters public beta starting today. If you're comfortable using abeta product you should give it a spin on your next project! Here are some ofthe companies and startups who are already building with Cloud Firestore:
Get started by visiting the database tab in your Firebaseconsole. For more details, see the documentation, pricing, codesamples, performancelimitations during beta, and view our open source iOS and JavaScript SDKs onGitHub.
We can't wait to see what you build and hear what you think of Cloud Firestore!
Posted by David DeRemer (from Posse)Whether it's opening night for a Broadway musical or launch day for your app,both are thrilling times for everyone involved. Our agency, Posse, collaborated with Hamilton to design,build, and launch the official Hamilton app... in only three short months.We decided to use Firebase, Google'smobile development platform, for our backend and infrastructure, while we usedFlutter, a new UI toolkit for iOS and Android,for our front-end. In this post, we share how we did it.The Cloud Where It HappensWe love to spend time designing beautiful UIs, testing new interactions, anditerating with clients, and we don't want to be distracted by setting up andmaintaining servers. To stay focused on the app and our users, we implemented afull serverless architecture and made heavy use of Firebase.
A key feature of the app is the ticket lottery, which offers fans achance to get tickets to the constantly sold-out Hamilton show. We used CloudFunctions for Firebase, and a data flow architecture we learnedabout at Google I/O, to coordinate the lottery workflow between the mobileapp, custom business logic, and partner services.
For example, when someone enters the lottery, the app first writes data tospecific nodes in Realtime Database and the database's security rules help toensure that the data is valid. The write triggers a Cloud Function,which runs business logic and stores its result to a new node in the RealtimeDatabase. The newly written result data is then pushed automatically to the app.
What'd I miss?Because of Hamilton's intense fan following, we wanted to make sure that appusers could get news the instant it was published. So we built a custom,web-based Content Management System (CMS) for the Hamilton team that usedFirebase Realtime Database to store and retrieve data. The Realtime Databaseeliminated the need for a "pull to refresh" feature of the app. When new contentis published via the CMS, the update is stored in Firebase Realtime Database andevery app user automatically sees the update. No refresh, reload, orpull required!
Cloud Functions Left Us SatisfiedBesides powering our lottery integration, Cloud Functions was also extremelyvaluable in the creation of user profiles, sending push notifications, and our#HamCam — a custom Hamilton selfie and photo-taking experience. Cloud Functionsresized the images, saved them in Cloud Storage, and then updated the database.By taking care of the infrastructure work of storing and managing the photos,Firebase freed us up to focus on making the camera fun and full of Hamiltonstyle.
Developing UI? Don't Wait For It.With only three months to design and deliver the app, we knew we needed toiterate quickly on the UX and UI. Flutter's hot reload developmentcycle meant we could make a change in our UI code and, in about a second, seethe change reflected on our simulators and phones. No rebuilding, recompiling,or multi-second pauses required! Even the state of the app was preserved betweenhot reloads, making it very fast for us to iterate on the UI with our designers.
We used Flutter's reactive UI framework to implement Hamilton's iconic brandwith custom UI elements. Flutter's "everything is a widget" approach made iteasy for us to compose custom UIs from a rich set of building blocks provided bythe framework. And, because Flutter runs on both iOS and Android, we were ableto spend our time creating beautiful designs instead of porting the UI.
The FlutterFireproject helped us access Firebase Analytics, Firebase Authentication, andRealtime Database from the app code. And because Flutter is open source, andeasy to extend, we even built a custom router library that helped usorganize the app's UI code.
What comes next?We enjoyed building the Hamilton app (find it on the PlayStore or the AppStore) in a way that allowed us to focus on our users and experiment withnew app ideas and experiences. And based on our experience, we'd happilyrecommend serverless architectures with Firebase and customized UI designs withFlutter as powerful ways for you to save time building your app.
For us, we already have plans how to continue and develop Hamilton app in newways, and can't wait to release those soon!
If you want to learn more about Firebase or Flutter, we recommend the Firebase docs, the Firebase channel on YouTube,and the Flutter website.
.blogimg1 img {width: 50%;display: block;margin: auto;border: 0;padding: 20px 0 20px 0;}.blogimg2 img {width: 100%;margin: 0;border: 0;padding: 20px 0 20px 0;} Posted by David DeRemer (from Posse)Whether it's opening night for a Broadway musical or launch day for your app,both are thrilling times for everyone involved. Our agency, Posse, collaborated with Hamilton to design,build, and launch the official Hamilton app... in only three short months.
We decided to use Firebase, Google'smobile development platform, for our backend and infrastructure, while we usedFlutter, a new UI toolkit for iOS and Android,for our front-end. In this post, we share how we did it.
The Cloud Where It HappensWe love to spend time designing beautiful UIs, testing new interactions, anditerating with clients, and we don't want to be distracted by setting up andmaintaining servers. To stay focused on the app and our users, we implemented afull serverless architecture and made heavy use of Firebase.
A key feature of the app is the ticket lottery, which offers fans achance to get tickets to the constantly sold-out Hamilton show. We used CloudFunctions for Firebase, and a data flow architecture we learnedabout at Google I/O, to coordinate the lottery workflow between the mobileapp, custom business logic, and partner services.
For example, when someone enters the lottery, the app first writes data tospecific nodes in Realtime Database and the database's security rules help toensure that the data is valid. The write triggers a Cloud Function,which runs business logic and stores its result to a new node in the RealtimeDatabase. The newly written result data is then pushed automatically to the app.
What'd I miss?Because of Hamilton's intense fan following, we wanted to make sure that appusers could get news the instant it was published. So we built a custom,web-based Content Management System (CMS) for the Hamilton team that usedFirebase Realtime Database to store and retrieve data. The Realtime Databaseeliminated the need for a "pull to refresh" feature of the app. When new contentis published via the CMS, the update is stored in Firebase Realtime Database andevery app user automatically sees the update. No refresh, reload, orpull required!
Cloud Functions Left Us SatisfiedBesides powering our lottery integration, Cloud Functions was also extremelyvaluable in the creation of user profiles, sending push notifications, and our#HamCam — a custom Hamilton selfie and photo-taking experience. Cloud Functionsresized the images, saved them in Cloud Storage, and then updated the database.By taking care of the infrastructure work of storing and managing the photos,Firebase freed us up to focus on making the camera fun and full of Hamiltonstyle.
Developing UI? Don't Wait For It.With only three months to design and deliver the app, we knew we needed toiterate quickly on the UX and UI. Flutter's hot reload developmentcycle meant we could make a change in our UI code and, in about a second, seethe change reflected on our simulators and phones. No rebuilding, recompiling,or multi-second pauses required! Even the state of the app was preserved betweenhot reloads, making it very fast for us to iterate on the UI with our designers.
We used Flutter's reactive UI framework to implement Hamilton's iconic brandwith custom UI elements. Flutter's "everything is a widget" approach made iteasy for us to compose custom UIs from a rich set of building blocks provided bythe framework. And, because Flutter runs on both iOS and Android, we were ableto spend our time creating beautiful designs instead of porting the UI.
The FlutterFireproject helped us access Firebase Analytics, Firebase Authentication, andRealtime Database from the app code. And because Flutter is open source, andeasy to extend, we even built a custom router library that helped usorganize the app's UI code.
What comes next?We enjoyed building the Hamilton app (find it on the PlayStore or the AppStore) in a way that allowed us to focus on our users and experiment withnew app ideas and experiences. And based on our experience, we'd happilyrecommend serverless architectures with Firebase and customized UI designs withFlutter as powerful ways for you to save time building your app.
For us, we already have plans how to continue and develop Hamilton app in newways, and can't wait to release those soon!
If you want to learn more about Firebase or Flutter, we recommend the Firebase docs, the Firebase channel on YouTube,and the Flutter website.
.blogimg1 img {width: 50%;display: block;margin: auto;border: 0;padding: 20px 0 20px 0;}.blogimg2 img {width: 100%;margin: 0;border: 0;padding: 20px 0 20px 0;} Originally posted on the Firebase Blog by Francis Ma, Firebase Group Product ManagerIt's been an exciting year! Last May, we expanded Firebase intoour unified app platform, building on the original backend-as-a-service andadding products to help developers grow their user base, as well as test andmonetize their apps. Hearing from developers like Wattpad, who built an appusing Firebase in only 3 weeks, makes all the hard work worthwhile.We're thrilled by the initial response from the community, but we believe ourjourney is just getting started. Let's talk about some of the enhancementscoming to Firebase today.Integrating with FabricIn January, weannounced that we were welcoming the Fabric team to Firebase. Fabric initiallygrabbed our attention with their array of products, including theindustry-leading crash reporting tool, Crashlytics. As we got to know the teambetter, we were even more impressed by how closely aligned our missions are: tohelp developers build better apps and grow successful businesses. Over the lastseveral months, we've been working closely with the Fabric team to bringthe best of our platforms together.We plan to make Crashlytics the primary crash reporting product in Firebase. Ifyou don't already use a crash reporting tool, we recommend you take a look atCrashlytics and see what it can do for you. You can get started by following the Fabricdocumentation.Phone authentication comes to FirebasePhone number authentication has been the biggest request for FirebaseAuthentication, so we're excited to announce that we've worked with the FabricDigits team to bring phone auth to our platform. You can now let your users signin with their phone numbers, in addition to traditional email/password oridentity providers like Google or Facebook. This gives you a comprehensiveauthentication solution no matter who your users are or how they like to log in.At the same time, the Fabric team will be retiring the Digits name and SDK. Ifyou currently use Digits, over the next couple weeks we'll be rolling out theability to link your existing Digits account with Firebase and swap in theFirebase SDK for the Digits SDK. Go to the Digitsblog to learn more./>Introducing Firebase Performance MonitoringWe recognize that poor app performance and stability are the top reasons forusers to leave bad ratings on your app and possibly churn altogether. As part ofour effort to help you build better apps, we're pleased to announce the betalaunch of Performance Monitoring.Firebase Performance Monitoring is a new free tool that helps you understandwhen your user experience is being impacted by poorly performing code orchallenging network conditions. You can learn more and get started withPerformance Monitoring in the Firebasedocumentation.More robust analyticsAnalytics has been core to the Firebase platform since we launched last I/O. Weknow that understanding your users is the number one way to make your appsuccessful, so we're continuing to invest in improving our analytics product.First off, you may notice that you're starting to see the name "Google Analyticsfor Firebase" around our documentation. Our analytics solution was built inconjunction with the Google Analytics team, and the reports are available bothin the Firebase console and the Google Analytics interface. So, we're renamingFirebase Analytics to Google Analytics for Firebase, to reflect that your appanalytics data are shared across both.For those of you who monetize your app with AdMob, we've started sharing data betweenthe two platforms, helping you understand the true lifetime value (LTV) ofyour users, from both purchases and AdMob revenue. You'll see these new insightssurfaced in the updated Analytics dashboard.Many of you have also asked for analytics insights into custom events andparameters. Starting today, you can register up to 50 custom event parametersand see their details in your Analytics reports. Learn more aboutcustom parameter reporting.Firebase for all - iOS, games, and open sourceFirebase's mission is to help all developers build better apps. In that spirit,today we're announcing expanded platform and vertical support for Firebase.First of all, as Swift has become the preferred language for many iOSdevelopers, we've updated our SDK to handle Swift language nuances, making Swiftdevelopment a native experience on Firebase.We've also improved Firebase Cloud Messaging by adding support for token-basedauthentication for APNs, and greatly simplifying the connection and registrationlogic in the client SDK.Second, we've heard from our game developer community that one of the mostimportant stats you monitor is frames per second (FPS). So, we've built GameLoop support & FPS monitoring into Test Lab for Android, allowing you toevaluate your game's frame rate before you deploy. Coupled with the addition ofUnity plugins and a C++ SDK, which weannounced at GDC this year, we think that Firebase is a great option forgame developers. To see an example of a game built on top of Firebase, check outour Mecha Hamster app onGithub.Finally, we've taken a big first step towards open sourcing our SDKs. We believein open source software, not only because transparency is an important goal, butalso because we know that the greatest innovation happens when we allcollaborate. You can view our new repos on our open sourceproject page and learn more about our decision in thisblog post.Dynamic Hosting with Cloud Functions for FirebaseIn March, welaunched Cloud Functions for Firebase, which lets you run custom backendcode in response to events triggered by Firebase features and HTTP requests.This lets you do things like send a notification when a user signs up orautomatically create thumbnails when an image is uploaded to Cloud Storage.Today, in an effort to better serve our web developer community, we're expandingFirebase Hosting to integrate with Cloud Functions. This means that, in additionto serving static assets for your web app, you can now serve dynamic content,generated by Cloud Functions, through Firebase Hosting. For those of youbuilding progressive webapps, Firebase Hosting + Cloud Functions allows you to go completelyserver-less. You can learn more by visiting ourdocumentation.Firebase Alpha program and what's nextOur goal is to build the best developer experience: easy-to-use products, greatdocumentation, and intuitive APIs. And the best resource that we have forimproving Firebase is you! Your questions and feedback continuously push us tomake Firebase better.In light of that, we're excited to announce a Firebase Alpha program, where youwill have the opportunity to test the cutting edge of our products. Things mightnot be perfect (in fact, we can almost guarantee they won't be), but byparticipating in the alpha community, you'll help define the future of Firebase.If you want to get involved, please register your interest in the Firebase Alpha form.Thank you for your support, enthusiasm, and, most importantly, feedback. TheFirebase community is the reason that we've been able to grow and improve ourplatform at such an incredible pace over the last year. We're excited tocontinue working with you to build simple, intuitive products for developingapps and growing mobile businesses. To get started with Firebase today, visitour newly redesigned website. We'reexcited to see what you build!Originally posted on the Firebase Blog by Francis Ma, Firebase Group Product ManagerIt's been an exciting year! Last May, we expanded Firebase intoour unified app platform, building on the original backend-as-a-service andadding products to help developers grow their user base, as well as test andmonetize their apps. Hearing from developers like Wattpad, who built an appusing Firebase in only 3 weeks, makes all the hard work worthwhile.
We're thrilled by the initial response from the community, but we believe ourjourney is just getting started. Let's talk about some of the enhancementscoming to Firebase today.
Integrating with FabricIn January, weannounced that we were welcoming the Fabric team to Firebase. Fabric initiallygrabbed our attention with their array of products, including theindustry-leading crash reporting tool, Crashlytics. As we got to know the teambetter, we were even more impressed by how closely aligned our missions are: tohelp developers build better apps and grow successful businesses. Over the lastseveral months, we've been working closely with the Fabric team to bringthe best of our platforms together.
We plan to make Crashlytics the primary crash reporting product in Firebase. Ifyou don't already use a crash reporting tool, we recommend you take a look atCrashlytics and see what it can do for you. You can get started by following the Fabricdocumentation.
Phone authentication comes to FirebasePhone number authentication has been the biggest request for FirebaseAuthentication, so we're excited to announce that we've worked with the FabricDigits team to bring phone auth to our platform. You can now let your users signin with their phone numbers, in addition to traditional email/password oridentity providers like Google or Facebook. This gives you a comprehensiveauthentication solution no matter who your users are or how they like to log in.
At the same time, the Fabric team will be retiring the Digits name and SDK. Ifyou currently use Digits, over the next couple weeks we'll be rolling out theability to link your existing Digits account with Firebase and swap in theFirebase SDK for the Digits SDK. Go to the Digitsblog to learn more.
/>Introducing Firebase Performance MonitoringWe recognize that poor app performance and stability are the top reasons forusers to leave bad ratings on your app and possibly churn altogether. As part ofour effort to help you build better apps, we're pleased to announce the betalaunch of Performance Monitoring.
Firebase Performance Monitoring is a new free tool that helps you understandwhen your user experience is being impacted by poorly performing code orchallenging network conditions. You can learn more and get started withPerformance Monitoring in the Firebasedocumentation.
More robust analyticsAnalytics has been core to the Firebase platform since we launched last I/O. Weknow that understanding your users is the number one way to make your appsuccessful, so we're continuing to invest in improving our analytics product.
First off, you may notice that you're starting to see the name "Google Analyticsfor Firebase" around our documentation. Our analytics solution was built inconjunction with the Google Analytics team, and the reports are available bothin the Firebase console and the Google Analytics interface. So, we're renamingFirebase Analytics to Google Analytics for Firebase, to reflect that your appanalytics data are shared across both.
For those of you who monetize your app with AdMob, we've started sharing data betweenthe two platforms, helping you understand the true lifetime value (LTV) ofyour users, from both purchases and AdMob revenue. You'll see these new insightssurfaced in the updated Analytics dashboard.
Many of you have also asked for analytics insights into custom events andparameters. Starting today, you can register up to 50 custom event parametersand see their details in your Analytics reports. Learn more aboutcustom parameter reporting.
Firebase for all - iOS, games, and open sourceFirebase's mission is to help all developers build better apps. In that spirit,today we're announcing expanded platform and vertical support for Firebase.
First of all, as Swift has become the preferred language for many iOSdevelopers, we've updated our SDK to handle Swift language nuances, making Swiftdevelopment a native experience on Firebase.
We've also improved Firebase Cloud Messaging by adding support for token-basedauthentication for APNs, and greatly simplifying the connection and registrationlogic in the client SDK.
Second, we've heard from our game developer community that one of the mostimportant stats you monitor is frames per second (FPS). So, we've built GameLoop support & FPS monitoring into Test Lab for Android, allowing you toevaluate your game's frame rate before you deploy. Coupled with the addition ofUnity plugins and a C++ SDK, which weannounced at GDC this year, we think that Firebase is a great option forgame developers. To see an example of a game built on top of Firebase, check outour Mecha Hamster app onGithub.
Finally, we've taken a big first step towards open sourcing our SDKs. We believein open source software, not only because transparency is an important goal, butalso because we know that the greatest innovation happens when we allcollaborate. You can view our new repos on our open sourceproject page and learn more about our decision in thisblog post.
Dynamic Hosting with Cloud Functions for FirebaseIn March, welaunched Cloud Functions for Firebase, which lets you run custom backendcode in response to events triggered by Firebase features and HTTP requests.This lets you do things like send a notification when a user signs up orautomatically create thumbnails when an image is uploaded to Cloud Storage.
Today, in an effort to better serve our web developer community, we're expandingFirebase Hosting to integrate with Cloud Functions. This means that, in additionto serving static assets for your web app, you can now serve dynamic content,generated by Cloud Functions, through Firebase Hosting. For those of youbuilding progressive webapps, Firebase Hosting + Cloud Functions allows you to go completelyserver-less. You can learn more by visiting ourdocumentation.
Firebase Alpha program and what's nextOur goal is to build the best developer experience: easy-to-use products, greatdocumentation, and intuitive APIs. And the best resource that we have forimproving Firebase is you! Your questions and feedback continuously push us tomake Firebase better.
In light of that, we're excited to announce a Firebase Alpha program, where youwill have the opportunity to test the cutting edge of our products. Things mightnot be perfect (in fact, we can almost guarantee they won't be), but byparticipating in the alpha community, you'll help define the future of Firebase.If you want to get involved, please register your interest in the Firebase Alpha form.
Thank you for your support, enthusiasm, and, most importantly, feedback. TheFirebase community is the reason that we've been able to grow and improve ourplatform at such an incredible pace over the last year. We're excited tocontinue working with you to build simple, intuitive products for developingapps and growing mobile businesses. To get started with Firebase today, visitour newly redesigned website. We'reexcited to see what you build!
Cross posted from Inside AdMobPosted by Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President, Ads and CommerceI/O is a magical time at Google. Every year, thousands of developers gather in Google's backyard to share new product ideas and learn about our latest innovations in computing.We're meeting at an exciting time for the developer community. It's a time when consumers have more choices than ever before—like where to shop, what to watch, which games to play and how to communicate with friends and family. Your product needs to stand out. You need tools to help your business grow. And you need to make sure your users are happy.We think we can help.This week, my team and I shared 3 new innovations for developers to make it easy for users to pay for your services, build profitable businesses and grow your user base.Enabling users to pay with GoogleStarting today, our suite of payment solutions will be expanding. The Google Payment API enables merchants and developers to turbocharge checkout conversion by offering your users an easy way to pay with credit and debit cards saved to their Google Account. Users will have multiple Google payment options at their fingertips, like a credit or a debit card previously saved via Android Pay, a payment card used to transact on the Play Store or a form of payment stored via Chrome. And they'll be able to use these saved payment options in third-party apps and mobile sites, as well as on Google Assistant when they are on-the-go.Paying with Google for Panera Bread on Google AssistantFor users, this means faster checkout. Now they'll never miss a deal because they're stuck on a bus and don't want to pull out their credit card in front of strangers. They'll no longer experience the pain of stumbling on a sale that ends at midnight when they're tucked in bed with their credit card out of reach. Users can save time and headache by using credit and debit cards they've already saved to their Google Account whenever they see the option to pay with Google on supported apps or sites.For developers, this API is a significant innovation that can enable faster checkout, drive more conversions, increase sales and reduce abandoned carts—all with a simple integration. Learn more about our Google Payment API here.Earn more from your apps with the brand new AdMob People turn to their mobile devices throughout the day to shop, communicate and stay entertained. For developers, in-app purchases are one way to monetize. Ads are another way.AdMob was built to support the app ecosystem. With over 1 million apps across iOS and Android, AdMob has paid over $3.5 billion dollars in ads revenue to developers. But there's more we can do to help you succeed.Today, we're introducing a completely redesigned AdMob. Rebuilt from the ground up, AdMob is now simpler to use and delivers richer insights about your users' in-app experiences.Simpler to use: We've applied Material Design to all aspects of the AdMob look and feel to deliver an easy-to-use and intuitive experience across the entire platform—on mobile and desktop. You'll get more done in less time. Below you can see how easy it is to pick an app that you're monitoring, check out its key metrics and then quickly take action to fine-tune its performance.Redesigned AdMob experience Deeper insights: We've also integrated Google Analytics for Firebase into the core of the redesigned AdMob so you have quick access to the metrics that matter most for your business. Once you link your AdMob and Firebase accounts, you'll have access to detailed ad revenue data and user insights like time spent in the app and in-app purchases—all in one place.Google Analytics for Firebase dashboard in AdMobKnow your user, find your user with Universal App CampaignsEarning money from your app is one piece of the puzzle. You also need to think about how to grow your user base.Google's app innovations have delivered over 5 billion installs from ads and we are now helping developers drive over 3 billion in-app events per quarter—like users adding something to their cart or reaching level 3 of a game. Developers have gravitated toward Universal App Campaigns (UAC) as the "one stop shop" campaign type that scales your reach and maximizes app installs across Google's largest properties: Google Play, Search, YouTube, Gmail and the Display Network. UAC uses Google's machine learning technology to evaluate numerous signals in real time, refining each ad to help you reach your most engaged users. We're continuing to double down on UAC, with all new innovations being built into UAC to make app promotion even more effective.Engage users in key moments of discovery with new UAC placements in Google Play Android reaches more than 2 billion active devices every month, with Google Play available in 190+ countries around the world. It's the place users come to discover new apps and games. Beyond searching for apps to try, users are increasingly browsing the Play store and finding recommendations for new apps. To help those users discover more of your apps, we are introducing new ad placements on the home and app listing pages in the Google Play Store. These new placements, available exclusively through UAC, help you reach users in "discovery mode" as they swipe, tap and scroll in search of their next favorite app. New ad placements reach users browsing in Google Play Discover more of your best users with new bidding options in UAC Some users are more valuable to your business than others, like the players who level-up in your game or the loyal travelers who book several flights a month. That's why we're expanding Smart Bidding strategies in UAC to help you acquire more of these high-value users. Using Smart Bidding, you can tailor bids for your unique business goals - target cost per acquisition (tCPA) or target return on ad spend (tROAS). UAC delivers the right users based on your objectives: installs, events and, coming soon, value. This update starts rolling out to iOS and Android developers and advertisers in the coming months. Introducing App Attribution Partners, a new measurement program Many developers rely on third-party measurement providers to measure the impact of ads and gain valuable insights about how users engage with your app. To help you take action on these insights in a faster and more seamless way, we are introducing App Attribution Partners, a new program designed to integrate data from 7 global companies right into AdWords.Welcome to adjust, Adways, AppsFlyer, Apsalar, CyberZ, Kochava and TUNE... we're thrilled to have them onboard!AdWords' integration with these partners ensures that you have consistent, reliable and more granular data where you review app metrics. Now you can take action with confidence and stay on top of your business performance.As consumers live more of their lives online, it's increasingly important for developers to build user-centric experiences in everything that you do—from the apps you design, to the experiences you deliver, to the ways you help people transact. We know it's not always easy, so Google is here to help.We look forward to continuing on this journey with you. Cross posted from Inside AdMobPosted by Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President, Ads and CommerceI/O is a magical time at Google. Every year, thousands of developers gather in Google's backyard to share new product ideas and learn about our latest innovations in computing.We're meeting at an exciting time for the developer community. It's a time when consumers have more choices than ever before—like where to shop, what to watch, which games to play and how to communicate with friends and family. Your product needs to stand out. You need tools to help your business grow. And you need to make sure your users are happy.We think we can help.This week, my team and I shared 3 new innovations for developers to make it easy for users to pay for your services, build profitable businesses and grow your user base.Enabling users to pay with GoogleStarting today, our suite of payment solutions will be expanding. The Google Payment API enables merchants and developers to turbocharge checkout conversion by offering your users an easy way to pay with credit and debit cards saved to their Google Account. Users will have multiple Google payment options at their fingertips, like a credit or a debit card previously saved via Android Pay, a payment card used to transact on the Play Store or a form of payment stored via Chrome. And they'll be able to use these saved payment options in third-party apps and mobile sites, as well as on Google Assistant when they are on-the-go.Paying with Google for Panera Bread on Google AssistantFor users, this means faster checkout. Now they'll never miss a deal because they're stuck on a bus and don't want to pull out their credit card in front of strangers. They'll no longer experience the pain of stumbling on a sale that ends at midnight when they're tucked in bed with their credit card out of reach. Users can save time and headache by using credit and debit cards they've already saved to their Google Account whenever they see the option to pay with Google on supported apps or sites.For developers, this API is a significant innovation that can enable faster checkout, drive more conversions, increase sales and reduce abandoned carts—all with a simple integration. Learn more about our Google Payment API here.Earn more from your apps with the brand new AdMob People turn to their mobile devices throughout the day to shop, communicate and stay entertained. For developers, in-app purchases are one way to monetize. Ads are another way.AdMob was built to support the app ecosystem. With over 1 million apps across iOS and Android, AdMob has paid over $3.5 billion dollars in ads revenue to developers. But there's more we can do to help you succeed.Today, we're introducing a completely redesigned AdMob. Rebuilt from the ground up, AdMob is now simpler to use and delivers richer insights about your users' in-app experiences.Simpler to use: We've applied Material Design to all aspects of the AdMob look and feel to deliver an easy-to-use and intuitive experience across the entire platform—on mobile and desktop. You'll get more done in less time. Below you can see how easy it is to pick an app that you're monitoring, check out its key metrics and then quickly take action to fine-tune its performance.Redesigned AdMob experience Deeper insights: We've also integrated Google Analytics for Firebase into the core of the redesigned AdMob so you have quick access to the metrics that matter most for your business. Once you link your AdMob and Firebase accounts, you'll have access to detailed ad revenue data and user insights like time spent in the app and in-app purchases—all in one place.Google Analytics for Firebase dashboard in AdMobKnow your user, find your user with Universal App CampaignsEarning money from your app is one piece of the puzzle. You also need to think about how to grow your user base.Google's app innovations have delivered over 5 billion installs from ads and we are now helping developers drive over 3 billion in-app events per quarter—like users adding something to their cart or reaching level 3 of a game. Developers have gravitated toward Universal App Campaigns (UAC) as the "one stop shop" campaign type that scales your reach and maximizes app installs across Google's largest properties: Google Play, Search, YouTube, Gmail and the Display Network. UAC uses Google's machine learning technology to evaluate numerous signals in real time, refining each ad to help you reach your most engaged users. We're continuing to double down on UAC, with all new innovations being built into UAC to make app promotion even more effective.Engage users in key moments of discovery with new UAC placements in Google Play Android reaches more than 2 billion active devices every month, with Google Play available in 190+ countries around the world. It's the place users come to discover new apps and games. Beyond searching for apps to try, users are increasingly browsing the Play store and finding recommendations for new apps. To help those users discover more of your apps, we are introducing new ad placements on the home and app listing pages in the Google Play Store. These new placements, available exclusively through UAC, help you reach users in "discovery mode" as they swipe, tap and scroll in search of their next favorite app. New ad placements reach users browsing in Google Play Discover more of your best users with new bidding options in UAC Some users are more valuable to your business than others, like the players who level-up in your game or the loyal travelers who book several flights a month. That's why we're expanding Smart Bidding strategies in UAC to help you acquire more of these high-value users. Using Smart Bidding, you can tailor bids for your unique business goals - target cost per acquisition (tCPA) or target return on ad spend (tROAS). UAC delivers the right users based on your objectives: installs, events and, coming soon, value. This update starts rolling out to iOS and Android developers and advertisers in the coming months. Introducing App Attribution Partners, a new measurement program Many developers rely on third-party measurement providers to measure the impact of ads and gain valuable insights about how users engage with your app. To help you take action on these insights in a faster and more seamless way, we are introducing App Attribution Partners, a new program designed to integrate data from 7 global companies right into AdWords.Welcome to adjust, Adways, AppsFlyer, Apsalar, CyberZ, Kochava and TUNE... we're thrilled to have them onboard!AdWords' integration with these partners ensures that you have consistent, reliable and more granular data where you review app metrics. Now you can take action with confidence and stay on top of your business performance.As consumers live more of their lives online, it's increasingly important for developers to build user-centric experiences in everything that you do—from the apps you design, to the experiences you deliver, to the ways you help people transact. We know it's not always easy, so Google is here to help.We look forward to continuing on this journey with you. Originally posted on the Firebase BlogPosted by Francis Ma, Firebase Product ManagerAlmost eight months ago, we launchedthe expansion of Firebase to help developers build high-quality apps, grow theiruser base, and earn more money across iOS, Android and the Web. We've alreadyseen great adoption of the platform, which brings together the best of Google'score businesses from Cloud to mobile advertising.Our ultimate goal with Firebase is to free developers from so much of thecomplexity associated with modern software development, giving them back moretime and energy to focus on innovation.As we work towards that goal, we've continued to improve Firebase, workingclosely with our user community. We recently introducedmajor enhancements to many core features, including Firebase Analytics, Test Laband Cloud Messaging, as well as added support for game developers with a C++ SDKand Unity plug-in.We're deeply committed to Firebase and are doubling down on our investment tosolve developer challenges.Fabric and Firebase Joining ForcesToday, we're excited to announce that we've signed an agreement to acquireFabric to continue the great work that Twitter put into the platform. Fabricwill join Google's Developer Product Group, working with the Firebase team. Ourmissions align closely: help developers build better apps and grow theirbusiness.As a popular, trusted tool over many years, we expect that Crashlytics willbecome the main crash reporting offering for Firebase and will augment the workthat we have already done in this area. While Fabric was built on the foundationof Crashlytics, the Fabric team leveraged its success to launch a broad set ofimportant tools, including Answers and Fastlane. We'll share further details inthe coming weeks after we close the deal, as we work closely together with theFabric team to determine the most efficient ways to further combine ourstrengths. During the transition period, Digits, the SMS authentication services, will be maintained by Twitter.The integration of Fabric is part of our larger, long-term effort of deliveringa comprehensive suite of features for iOS, Android and mobile Web appdevelopment.This is a great moment for the industry and a unique opportunity to bring thebest of Firebase with the best of Fabric. We're committed to making mobile appdevelopment seamless, so that developers can focus more of their time onbuilding creative experiences. Originally posted on the Firebase BlogPosted by Francis Ma, Firebase Product ManagerAlmost eight months ago, we launchedthe expansion of Firebase to help developers build high-quality apps, grow theiruser base, and earn more money across iOS, Android and the Web. We've alreadyseen great adoption of the platform, which brings together the best of Google'score businesses from Cloud to mobile advertising.Our ultimate goal with Firebase is to free developers from so much of thecomplexity associated with modern software development, giving them back moretime and energy to focus on innovation.As we work towards that goal, we've continued to improve Firebase, workingclosely with our user community. We recently introducedmajor enhancements to many core features, including Firebase Analytics, Test Laband Cloud Messaging, as well as added support for game developers with a C++ SDKand Unity plug-in.We're deeply committed to Firebase and are doubling down on our investment tosolve developer challenges.Fabric and Firebase Joining ForcesToday, we're excited to announce that we've signed an agreement to acquireFabric to continue the great work that Twitter put into the platform. Fabricwill join Google's Developer Product Group, working with the Firebase team. Ourmissions align closely: help developers build better apps and grow theirbusiness.As a popular, trusted tool over many years, we expect that Crashlytics willbecome the main crash reporting offering for Firebase and will augment the workthat we have already done in this area. While Fabric was built on the foundationof Crashlytics, the Fabric team leveraged its success to launch a broad set ofimportant tools, including Answers and Fastlane. We'll share further details inthe coming weeks after we close the deal, as we work closely together with theFabric team to determine the most efficient ways to further combine ourstrengths. During the transition period, Digits, the SMS authentication services, will be maintained by Twitter.The integration of Fabric is part of our larger, long-term effort of deliveringa comprehensive suite of features for iOS, Android and mobile Web appdevelopment.This is a great moment for the industry and a unique opportunity to bring thebest of Firebase with the best of Fabric. We're committed to making mobile appdevelopment seamless, so that developers can focus more of their time onbuilding creative experiences. Originally posted on the Firebase blog by Doug Stevenson /Developer AdvocateI've got to come clean with everyone: I'm making no new year's resolutions for2017. Nor did I make any in 2016. In fact, I don't think I've ever made one!It's not so much that I take a dim view of new year's resolutions. I simplysuspect that I would likely break them by the end of the week, and feel badabout it!One thing I've found helpful in the past is to see the new year as a pivotingpoint to try new things, and also improve the work I'm already doing. For me(and I hope for you too!), 2017 will be a fresh year for boosting app quality.The phrase "app quality" can take a bunch of different meanings, based on whatyou value in the software you create and use. As a developer, traditionally,this means fixing bugs that cause problems for your users. It could also be areflection of the amount of delight your users take in your app. All of thisgets wrapped up into the one primary metric that we have to gauge the quality ofa mobile app, which is your app's rating on the store where it's published. I'msure every one of you who has an app on a storefront has paid much attention tothe app's rating at some point!Firebase provides some tools you can use to boost your app's quality, and ifyou're not already using them, maybe a fresh look at those tools would behelpful this year?Firebase Crash ReportingThe easiest tool to get started with is Firebase Crash Reporting. It takeslittle to no lines of code to integrate it into your iOS and Android app, andonce you do, the Firebase console will start showing crashes that are happeningto your users. This gives you a "hit list" of problems to fix.One thing I find ironic about being involved with the Crash Reporting team ishow we view the influx of total crashes received as we monitor our system. Likeany good developer product, we strive to grow adoption, which means we celebrategraphs that go "up and to the right". So, in a strange sense, we like to seemore crashes, because that means more developers are using our stuff! But forall of you developers out there, more crashes is obviously a *bad* thing, andyou want to make those numbers go down! So, please, don't be like us - makeyour crash report graphs go down and to the right in 2017!Firebase Test Lab for AndroidEven better than fixing problems for your users is fixing those problemsbefore they even reach your users. For your Android apps, you can useFirebase Test Lab tohelp ensure that your apps work great for your users among a growing variety ofactual devices that we manage. Traditionally, it's been kind of a pain toacquire and manage a good selection of devices for testing. However, with TestLab, you simply upload your APK and tests, and it will install and run them toour devices. After the tests complete, we'll provide all the screenshots,videos, and logs of everything that happened for you to examine in the Firebaseconsole.With Firebase Test Lab for Android now available with generous daily quotas atno charge for projects on the free Spark tier, 2017 is a great time to getstarted with that. And, if you haven't set up your Android app builds in acontinuous integration environment, you could set that up, then configure it torun your testsautomatically on Test Lab.If you're the kind of person who likes writing tests for your code (which is,admittedly, not very many of us!), it's natural to get those tests running onTest Lab. But, for those of us who aren't maintaining a test suite with ourcodebase, we can still use Test Lab's automated Robo test toget automated test coverage right away, with no additional lines of coderequired. That's not quite that same as having a comprehensive suite of tests,so maybe 2017 would be a good time to learn more about architecting "testable"apps, and how those practices can raise the bar of quality for your app. I'mplanning on writing more about this later this year, so stay tuned to the Firebase Blog for more!Firebase Remote ConfigAt its core, FirebaseRemote Config is a tool that lets you configure your app using parametersthat you set up in the Firebase console. It can be used to help manage thequality of your app, and there's a couple neat tricks you can do with it. Maybethis new year brings new opportunities to give them a try!First of all, you can use Remote Config to carefully roll out a new feature toyour users. It works like this:Code your new feature and restrict its access to the user by a Remote Configboolean parameter. If the value is 'false', your users don't see the feature.Make 'false' the default value in the app.Configure that parameter in the Firebase console to also be initially'false' for everyone.Publish your app to the store.When it's time to start rolling out the new feature to a small segment ofusers, configure the parameter to be 'true' for, say, five percent of your userbase.Stay alert for new crashes in Firebase Crash Reporting, as well as feedbackfrom your users.If there is a problem with the new feature, immediately roll back the newfeature by setting the parameter to 'false' in the console for everyone.Or, if things are looking good, increase the percentage over time until youreach 100% of your users.This is much safer than publishing your new feature to everyone with a singleapp update, because now you have the option to immediately disable a seriousproblem, and without having to build and publish a whole new version of yourapp. And, if you can act quickly, most of your users will never encounter theproblem to begin with. This works well with the email alerts you get fromFirebase Crash Reporting when a new crash is observed.Another feature of Remote Config is the ability to experiment with some aspectof your app in order to find out what works better for the users of your app,then measure the results in Firebase Analytics. I don't know about you, but I'mtypically pretty bad at guessing what people actually prefer, and sometimes I'msurprised at how people might actually *use* an app! Don't guess - instead, doan experiment and know /for certain/ what delights your users more! It standsto reason that apps finely tuned like this can get better ratings and make moremoney.Firebase Realtime DatabaseIt makes sense that if you make it easier for you user to perform tasks in yourapp, they will enjoy using it more, and they will come back more frequently.One thing I have always disliked is having to check for new information byrefreshing, or navigating back and forward again. Apps that are always freshand up to date, without requiring me to take action, are more pleasant to use.You can achieve this for your app by making effective use of Firebase Realtime Databaseto deliver relevant data directly to your users at the moment it changes in thedatabase. Realtime Database is reactive by nature, because the clientAPI is designed for you set up listeners at data locations that get triggered inthe event of a change. This is far more convenient than having to poll an APIendpoint repeatedly to check for changes, and also much more respectful of theuser's mobile data and battery life. Users associate this feeling of delightwith apps of high quality.What does 2017 have in store for your app?I hope you'll join me this year in putting more effort into making our userseven more delighted. If you're with me, feel free to tweet me at @CodingDoug and tell me what you're upto in 2017! Originally posted on the Firebase blog by Doug Stevenson /Developer AdvocateI've got to come clean with everyone: I'm making no new year's resolutions for2017. Nor did I make any in 2016. In fact, I don't think I've ever made one!It's not so much that I take a dim view of new year's resolutions. I simplysuspect that I would likely break them by the end of the week, and feel badabout it!One thing I've found helpful in the past is to see the new year as a pivotingpoint to try new things, and also improve the work I'm already doing. For me(and I hope for you too!), 2017 will be a fresh year for boosting app quality.The phrase "app quality" can take a bunch of different meanings, based on whatyou value in the software you create and use. As a developer, traditionally,this means fixing bugs that cause problems for your users. It could also be areflection of the amount of delight your users take in your app. All of thisgets wrapped up into the one primary metric that we have to gauge the quality ofa mobile app, which is your app's rating on the store where it's published. I'msure every one of you who has an app on a storefront has paid much attention tothe app's rating at some point!Firebase provides some tools you can use to boost your app's quality, and ifyou're not already using them, maybe a fresh look at those tools would behelpful this year?Firebase Crash ReportingThe easiest tool to get started with is Firebase Crash Reporting. It takeslittle to no lines of code to integrate it into your iOS and Android app, andonce you do, the Firebase console will start showing crashes that are happeningto your users. This gives you a "hit list" of problems to fix.One thing I find ironic about being involved with the Crash Reporting team ishow we view the influx of total crashes received as we monitor our system. Likeany good developer product, we strive to grow adoption, which means we celebrategraphs that go "up and to the right". So, in a strange sense, we like to seemore crashes, because that means more developers are using our stuff! But forall of you developers out there, more crashes is obviously a *bad* thing, andyou want to make those numbers go down! So, please, don't be like us - makeyour crash report graphs go down and to the right in 2017!Firebase Test Lab for AndroidEven better than fixing problems for your users is fixing those problemsbefore they even reach your users. For your Android apps, you can useFirebase Test Lab tohelp ensure that your apps work great for your users among a growing variety ofactual devices that we manage. Traditionally, it's been kind of a pain toacquire and manage a good selection of devices for testing. However, with TestLab, you simply upload your APK and tests, and it will install and run them toour devices. After the tests complete, we'll provide all the screenshots,videos, and logs of everything that happened for you to examine in the Firebaseconsole.With Firebase Test Lab for Android now available with generous daily quotas atno charge for projects on the free Spark tier, 2017 is a great time to getstarted with that. And, if you haven't set up your Android app builds in acontinuous integration environment, you could set that up, then configure it torun your testsautomatically on Test Lab.If you're the kind of person who likes writing tests for your code (which is,admittedly, not very many of us!), it's natural to get those tests running onTest Lab. But, for those of us who aren't maintaining a test suite with ourcodebase, we can still use Test Lab's automated Robo test toget automated test coverage right away, with no additional lines of coderequired. That's not quite that same as having a comprehensive suite of tests,so maybe 2017 would be a good time to learn more about architecting "testable"apps, and how those practices can raise the bar of quality for your app. I'mplanning on writing more about this later this year, so stay tuned to the Firebase Blog for more!Firebase Remote ConfigAt its core, FirebaseRemote Config is a tool that lets you configure your app using parametersthat you set up in the Firebase console. It can be used to help manage thequality of your app, and there's a couple neat tricks you can do with it. Maybethis new year brings new opportunities to give them a try!First of all, you can use Remote Config to carefully roll out a new feature toyour users. It works like this:Code your new feature and restrict its access to the user by a Remote Configboolean parameter. If the value is 'false', your users don't see the feature.Make 'false' the default value in the app.Configure that parameter in the Firebase console to also be initially'false' for everyone.Publish your app to the store.When it's time to start rolling out the new feature to a small segment ofusers, configure the parameter to be 'true' for, say, five percent of your userbase.Stay alert for new crashes in Firebase Crash Reporting, as well as feedbackfrom your users.If there is a problem with the new feature, immediately roll back the newfeature by setting the parameter to 'false' in the console for everyone.Or, if things are looking good, increase the percentage over time until youreach 100% of your users.This is much safer than publishing your new feature to everyone with a singleapp update, because now you have the option to immediately disable a seriousproblem, and without having to build and publish a whole new version of yourapp. And, if you can act quickly, most of your users will never encounter theproblem to begin with. This works well with the email alerts you get fromFirebase Crash Reporting when a new crash is observed.Another feature of Remote Config is the ability to experiment with some aspectof your app in order to find out what works better for the users of your app,then measure the results in Firebase Analytics. I don't know about you, but I'mtypically pretty bad at guessing what people actually prefer, and sometimes I'msurprised at how people might actually *use* an app! Don't guess - instead, doan experiment and know /for certain/ what delights your users more! It standsto reason that apps finely tuned like this can get better ratings and make moremoney.Firebase Realtime DatabaseIt makes sense that if you make it easier for you user to perform tasks in yourapp, they will enjoy using it more, and they will come back more frequently.One thing I have always disliked is having to check for new information byrefreshing, or navigating back and forward again. Apps that are always freshand up to date, without requiring me to take action, are more pleasant to use.You can achieve this for your app by making effective use of Firebase Realtime Databaseto deliver relevant data directly to your users at the moment it changes in thedatabase. Realtime Database is reactive by nature, because the clientAPI is designed for you set up listeners at data locations that get triggered inthe event of a change. This is far more convenient than having to poll an APIendpoint repeatedly to check for changes, and also much more respectful of theuser's mobile data and battery life. Users associate this feeling of delightwith apps of high quality.What does 2017 have in store for your app?I hope you'll join me this year in putting more effort into making our userseven more delighted. If you're with me, feel free to tweet me at @CodingDoug and tell me what you're upto in 2017! Originally posted on Firebase blogPosted by Fabian Schlup, Software EngineerIn September, we launched anew way to search for content in apps on Android phones. With this update,users were able to find personal content like messages, notes, music and moreacross apps like OpenTable, Ticketmaster, Evernote, Glide, Asana, Gmail, andGoogle Keep from a single search box. Today, we're inviting all Androiddevelopers to enable this functionality for their apps.Starting with version 10.0, the Firebase App Indexing API on Android lets appsadd their content to Google's on-device index in the background, and update itin real-time as users make changes in the app. We've designed the API with threeprinciples in mind:
making it simple to integratekeeping all personal data on the devicegiving the developer full control over what goes into the index andwhenThere are several predefined data types that make it easy to represent commonthings such as messages, notes, and songs, or you can add custom types torepresent additional items. Plus, logging user actions like a user listening toa specific song provides an important signal to help rank user content acrossthe Google app.
Indexable note = Indexables.noteDigitalDocumentBuilder()    .setUrl("http://example.net/users/42/lists/23")    .setName("Shopping list")    .setText("steak, pasta, wine")    .setImage("http://example.net/images/shopping.jpg")    .build();FirebaseAppIndex.getInstance().update(note);Example of adding or updating a user's shopping list in the on-device index.Integrating with Firebase App Indexing helps increase user engagement with yourapp, as users can get back to their personal content in an instant with GoogleSearch. Because that data is indexed directly on the device, this even workswhen offline.
To get started, check out our implementation guideand codelab.
Originally posted on Firebase blogPosted by Fabian Schlup, Software EngineerIn September, we launched anew way to search for content in apps on Android phones. With this update,users were able to find personal content like messages, notes, music and moreacross apps like OpenTable, Ticketmaster, Evernote, Glide, Asana, Gmail, andGoogle Keep from a single search box. Today, we're inviting all Androiddevelopers to enable this functionality for their apps.
Starting with version 10.0, the Firebase App Indexing API on Android lets appsadd their content to Google's on-device index in the background, and update itin real-time as users make changes in the app. We've designed the API with threeprinciples in mind:
making it simple to integratekeeping all personal data on the devicegiving the developer full control over what goes into the index andwhenThere are several predefined data types that make it easy to represent commonthings such as messages, notes, and songs, or you can add custom types torepresent additional items. Plus, logging user actions like a user listening toa specific song provides an important signal to help rank user content acrossthe Google app.
Indexable note = Indexables.noteDigitalDocumentBuilder()    .setUrl("http://example.net/users/42/lists/23")    .setName("Shopping list")    .setText("steak, pasta, wine")    .setImage("http://example.net/images/shopping.jpg")    .build();FirebaseAppIndex.getInstance().update(note);Example of adding or updating a user's shopping list in the on-device index.Integrating with Firebase App Indexing helps increase user engagement with yourapp, as users can get back to their personal content in an instant with GoogleSearch. Because that data is indexed directly on the device, this even workswhen offline.
To get started, check out our implementation guideand codelab.
Originally posted on Google Cloud Platform BlogPosted by Sara Robinson, Developer Advocate At Google I/O this May, Firebase announced a new suite of products to help developers build mobile apps. Firebase Analytics, a part of the new Firebase platform, is a tool that automatically captures data on how people are using your iOS and Android app, and lets you define your own custom app events. When the data's captured, it’s available through a dashboard in the Firebase console. One of my favorite cloud integrations with the new Firebase platform is the ability to export raw data from Firebase Analytics to Google BigQuery for custom analysis. This custom analysis is particularly useful for aggregating data from the iOS and Android versions of your app, and accessing custom parameters passed in your Firebase Analytics events. Let’s take a look at what you can do with this powerful combination.How does the BigQuery export work?After linking your Firebase project to BigQuery, Firebase automatically exports a new table to an associated BigQuery dataset every day. If you have both iOS and Android versions of your app, Firebase exports the data for each platform into a separate dataset. Each table contains the user activity and demographic data automatically captured by Firebase Analytics, along with any custom events you’re capturing in your app. Thus, after exporting one week’s worth of data for a cross-platform app, your BigQuery project would contain two datasets, each with seven tables:Diving into the dataThe schema for every Firebase Analytics export table is the same, and we’ve created two datasets (one for iOS and one for Android) with sample user data for you to run the example queries below. The datasets are for a sample cross-platform iOS and Android gaming app. Each dataset contains seven tables —  one week’s worth of analytics data.The following query will return some basic user demographic and device data for one day of usage on the iOS version of our app:SELECT  user_dim.app_info.app_instance_id,  user_dim.device_info.device_category,  user_dim.device_info.user_default_language,  user_dim.device_info.platform_version,  user_dim.device_info.device_model,  user_dim.geo_info.country,  user_dim.geo_info.city,  user_dim.app_info.app_version,   user_dim.app_info.app_store,  user_dim.app_info.app_platformFROM  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_20160601]Since the schema for every BigQuery table exported from Firebase Analytics is the same, you can run any of the queries in this post on your own Firebase Analytics data by replacing the dataset and table names with the ones for your project.The schema has user data and event data. All user data is automatically captured by Firebase Analytics, and the event data is populated by any custom events you add to your app. Let’s take a look at the specific records for both user and event data.User dataThe user records contain a unique app instance ID for each user (user_dim.app_info.app_instance_id in the schema), along with data on their location, device and app version. In the Firebase console, there are separate dashboards for the app’s Android and iOS analytics. With BigQuery, we can run a query to find out where our users are accessing our app around the world across both platforms. The query below makes use of BigQuery’s union feature, which lets you use a comma as a UNION ALL operator. Since a row is created in our table for each bundle of events a user triggers, we use EXACT_COUNT_DISTINCT to make sure each user is only counted once:SELECT  user_dim.geo_info.country as country,  EXACT_COUNT_DISTINCT( user_dim.app_info.app_instance_id ) as usersFROM  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_20160601],  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_20160601]GROUP BY  countryORDER BY  users DESCUser data also includes a user_properties record, which includes attributes you define to describe different segments of your user base, like language preference or geographic location. Firebase Analytics captures some user properties by default, and you can create up to 25 of your own. A user’s language preference is one of the default user properties. To see which languages our users speak across platforms, we can run the following query:SELECT  user_dim.user_properties.value.value.string_value as language_code,   EXACT_COUNT_DISTINCT(user_dim.app_info.app_instance_id) as users,FROM  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_20160601],  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_20160601]WHERE  user_dim.user_properties.key = "language"GROUP BY  language_codeORDER BY   users DESCEvent dataFirebase Analytics makes it easy to log custom events such as tracking item purchases or button clicks in your app. When you log an event, you pass an event name and up to 25 parameters to Firebase Analytics and it automatically tracks the number of times the event has occurred. The following query shows the number of times each event in our app has occurred on Android for a particular day:SELECT   event_dim.name,  COUNT(event_dim.name) as event_count FROM  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_20160601]GROUP BY   event_dim.nameORDER BY   event_count DESCIf you have another type of value associated with an event (like item prices), you can pass it through as an optional value parameter and filter by this value in BigQuery. In our sample tables, there is a spend_virtual_currency event. We can write the following query to see how much virtual currency players spend at one time:SELECT   event_dim.params.value.int_value as virtual_currency_amt,  COUNT(*) as num_times_spentFROM  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_20160601]WHERE  event_dim.name = "spend_virtual_currency"AND  event_dim.params.key = "value"GROUP BY  1ORDER BY   num_times_spent DESCBuilding complex queriesWhat if we want to run a query across both platforms of our app over a specific date range? Since Firebase Analytics data is split into tables for each day, we can do this using BigQuery’s TABLE_DATE_RANGE function. This query returns a count of the cities users are coming from over a one week period:SELECT  user_dim.geo_info.city,  COUNT(user_dim.geo_info.city) as city_count FROMTABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP()),TABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP())GROUP BY  user_dim.geo_info.cityORDER BY  city_count DESCWe can also write a query to compare mobile vs. tablet usage across platforms over a one week period:SELECT  user_dim.app_info.app_platform as appPlatform,  user_dim.device_info.device_category as deviceType,  COUNT(user_dim.device_info.device_category) AS device_type_count FROMTABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP()),TABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP())GROUP BY  1,2ORDER BY  device_type_count DESCGetting a bit more complex, we can write a query to generate a report of unique user events across platforms over the past two weeks. Here we use PARTITION BY and EXACT_COUNT_DISTINCT to de-dupe our event report by users, making use of user properties and the user_dim.user_id field:SELECT   STRFTIME_UTC_USEC(eventTime,"%Y%m%d") as date,  appPlatform,  eventName,  COUNT(*) totalEvents,  EXACT_COUNT_DISTINCT(IF(userId IS NOT NULL, userId, fullVisitorid)) as usersFROM (  SELECT    fullVisitorid,    openTimestamp,    FORMAT_UTC_USEC(openTimestamp) firstOpenedTime,    userIdSet,    MAX(userIdSet) OVER(PARTITION BY fullVisitorid) userId,    appPlatform,    eventTimestamp,    FORMAT_UTC_USEC(eventTimestamp) as eventTime,    eventName    FROM FLATTEN(      (        SELECT           user_dim.app_info.app_instance_id as fullVisitorid,          user_dim.first_open_timestamp_micros as openTimestamp,          user_dim.user_properties.value.value.string_value,          IF(user_dim.user_properties.key = 'user_id',user_dim.user_properties.value.value.string_value, null) as userIdSet,          user_dim.app_info.app_platform as appPlatform,          event_dim.timestamp_micros as eventTimestamp,          event_dim.name AS eventName,          event_dim.params.key,          event_dim.params.value.string_value        FROM         TABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP()),TABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP())), user_dim.user_properties))GROUP BY  date, appPlatform, eventNameIf you have data in Google Analytics for the same app, it’s also possible to export your Google Analytics data to BigQuery and do a JOIN with your Firebase Analytics BigQuery tables.Visualizing analytics dataNow that we’ve gathered new insights from our mobile app data using the raw BigQuery export, let’s visualize it using Google Data Studio. Data Studio can read directly from BigQuery tables, and we can even pass it a custom query like the ones above. Data Studio can generate many different types of charts depending on the structure of your data, including time series, bar charts, pie charts and geo maps. For our first visualization, let’s create a bar chart to compare the device types from which users are accessing our app on each platform. We can paste the mobile vs. tablet query above directly into Data Studio to generate the following chart:From this chart, it’s easy to see that iOS users are much more likely to access our game from a tablet. Getting a bit more complex, we can use the above event report query to create a bar chart comparing the number of events across platforms:Check out this post for detailed instructions on connecting your BigQuery project to Data Studio.What’s next?If you’re new to Firebase, get started here. If you’re already building a mobile app on Firebase, check out this detailed guide on linking your Firebase project to BigQuery. For questions, take a look at the BigQuery reference docs and use the firebase-analytics and google-bigquery tags on Stack Overflow. And let me know if there are any particular topics you’d like me to cover in an upcoming post. Originally posted on Google Cloud Platform BlogPosted by Sara Robinson, Developer Advocate At Google I/O this May, Firebase announced a new suite of products to help developers build mobile apps. Firebase Analytics, a part of the new Firebase platform, is a tool that automatically captures data on how people are using your iOS and Android app, and lets you define your own custom app events. When the data's captured, it’s available through a dashboard in the Firebase console. One of my favorite cloud integrations with the new Firebase platform is the ability to export raw data from Firebase Analytics to Google BigQuery for custom analysis. This custom analysis is particularly useful for aggregating data from the iOS and Android versions of your app, and accessing custom parameters passed in your Firebase Analytics events. Let’s take a look at what you can do with this powerful combination.How does the BigQuery export work?After linking your Firebase project to BigQuery, Firebase automatically exports a new table to an associated BigQuery dataset every day. If you have both iOS and Android versions of your app, Firebase exports the data for each platform into a separate dataset. Each table contains the user activity and demographic data automatically captured by Firebase Analytics, along with any custom events you’re capturing in your app. Thus, after exporting one week’s worth of data for a cross-platform app, your BigQuery project would contain two datasets, each with seven tables:Diving into the dataThe schema for every Firebase Analytics export table is the same, and we’ve created two datasets (one for iOS and one for Android) with sample user data for you to run the example queries below. The datasets are for a sample cross-platform iOS and Android gaming app. Each dataset contains seven tables —  one week’s worth of analytics data.The following query will return some basic user demographic and device data for one day of usage on the iOS version of our app:SELECT  user_dim.app_info.app_instance_id,  user_dim.device_info.device_category,  user_dim.device_info.user_default_language,  user_dim.device_info.platform_version,  user_dim.device_info.device_model,  user_dim.geo_info.country,  user_dim.geo_info.city,  user_dim.app_info.app_version,   user_dim.app_info.app_store,  user_dim.app_info.app_platformFROM  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_20160601]Since the schema for every BigQuery table exported from Firebase Analytics is the same, you can run any of the queries in this post on your own Firebase Analytics data by replacing the dataset and table names with the ones for your project.The schema has user data and event data. All user data is automatically captured by Firebase Analytics, and the event data is populated by any custom events you add to your app. Let’s take a look at the specific records for both user and event data.User dataThe user records contain a unique app instance ID for each user (user_dim.app_info.app_instance_id in the schema), along with data on their location, device and app version. In the Firebase console, there are separate dashboards for the app’s Android and iOS analytics. With BigQuery, we can run a query to find out where our users are accessing our app around the world across both platforms. The query below makes use of BigQuery’s union feature, which lets you use a comma as a UNION ALL operator. Since a row is created in our table for each bundle of events a user triggers, we use EXACT_COUNT_DISTINCT to make sure each user is only counted once:SELECT  user_dim.geo_info.country as country,  EXACT_COUNT_DISTINCT( user_dim.app_info.app_instance_id ) as usersFROM  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_20160601],  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_20160601]GROUP BY  countryORDER BY  users DESCUser data also includes a user_properties record, which includes attributes you define to describe different segments of your user base, like language preference or geographic location. Firebase Analytics captures some user properties by default, and you can create up to 25 of your own. A user’s language preference is one of the default user properties. To see which languages our users speak across platforms, we can run the following query:SELECT  user_dim.user_properties.value.value.string_value as language_code,   EXACT_COUNT_DISTINCT(user_dim.app_info.app_instance_id) as users,FROM  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_20160601],  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_20160601]WHERE  user_dim.user_properties.key = "language"GROUP BY  language_codeORDER BY   users DESCEvent dataFirebase Analytics makes it easy to log custom events such as tracking item purchases or button clicks in your app. When you log an event, you pass an event name and up to 25 parameters to Firebase Analytics and it automatically tracks the number of times the event has occurred. The following query shows the number of times each event in our app has occurred on Android for a particular day:SELECT   event_dim.name,  COUNT(event_dim.name) as event_count FROM  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_20160601]GROUP BY   event_dim.nameORDER BY   event_count DESCIf you have another type of value associated with an event (like item prices), you can pass it through as an optional value parameter and filter by this value in BigQuery. In our sample tables, there is a spend_virtual_currency event. We can write the following query to see how much virtual currency players spend at one time:SELECT   event_dim.params.value.int_value as virtual_currency_amt,  COUNT(*) as num_times_spentFROM  [firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_20160601]WHERE  event_dim.name = "spend_virtual_currency"AND  event_dim.params.key = "value"GROUP BY  1ORDER BY   num_times_spent DESCBuilding complex queriesWhat if we want to run a query across both platforms of our app over a specific date range? Since Firebase Analytics data is split into tables for each day, we can do this using BigQuery’s TABLE_DATE_RANGE function. This query returns a count of the cities users are coming from over a one week period:SELECT  user_dim.geo_info.city,  COUNT(user_dim.geo_info.city) as city_count FROMTABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP()),TABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP())GROUP BY  user_dim.geo_info.cityORDER BY  city_count DESCWe can also write a query to compare mobile vs. tablet usage across platforms over a one week period:SELECT  user_dim.app_info.app_platform as appPlatform,  user_dim.device_info.device_category as deviceType,  COUNT(user_dim.device_info.device_category) AS device_type_count FROMTABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP()),TABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP())GROUP BY  1,2ORDER BY  device_type_count DESCGetting a bit more complex, we can write a query to generate a report of unique user events across platforms over the past two weeks. Here we use PARTITION BY and EXACT_COUNT_DISTINCT to de-dupe our event report by users, making use of user properties and the user_dim.user_id field:SELECT   STRFTIME_UTC_USEC(eventTime,"%Y%m%d") as date,  appPlatform,  eventName,  COUNT(*) totalEvents,  EXACT_COUNT_DISTINCT(IF(userId IS NOT NULL, userId, fullVisitorid)) as usersFROM (  SELECT    fullVisitorid,    openTimestamp,    FORMAT_UTC_USEC(openTimestamp) firstOpenedTime,    userIdSet,    MAX(userIdSet) OVER(PARTITION BY fullVisitorid) userId,    appPlatform,    eventTimestamp,    FORMAT_UTC_USEC(eventTimestamp) as eventTime,    eventName    FROM FLATTEN(      (        SELECT           user_dim.app_info.app_instance_id as fullVisitorid,          user_dim.first_open_timestamp_micros as openTimestamp,          user_dim.user_properties.value.value.string_value,          IF(user_dim.user_properties.key = 'user_id',user_dim.user_properties.value.value.string_value, null) as userIdSet,          user_dim.app_info.app_platform as appPlatform,          event_dim.timestamp_micros as eventTimestamp,          event_dim.name AS eventName,          event_dim.params.key,          event_dim.params.value.string_value        FROM         TABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:android_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP()),TABLE_DATE_RANGE([firebase-analytics-sample-data:ios_dataset.app_events_], DATE_ADD('2016-06-07', -7, 'DAY'), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP())), user_dim.user_properties))GROUP BY  date, appPlatform, eventNameIf you have data in Google Analytics for the same app, it’s also possible to export your Google Analytics data to BigQuery and do a JOIN with your Firebase Analytics BigQuery tables.Visualizing analytics dataNow that we’ve gathered new insights from our mobile app data using the raw BigQuery export, let’s visualize it using Google Data Studio. Data Studio can read directly from BigQuery tables, and we can even pass it a custom query like the ones above. Data Studio can generate many different types of charts depending on the structure of your data, including time series, bar charts, pie charts and geo maps. For our first visualization, let’s create a bar chart to compare the device types from which users are accessing our app on each platform. We can paste the mobile vs. tablet query above directly into Data Studio to generate the following chart:From this chart, it’s easy to see that iOS users are much more likely to access our game from a tablet. Getting a bit more complex, we can use the above event report query to create a bar chart comparing the number of events across platforms:Check out this post for detailed instructions on connecting your BigQuery project to Data Studio.What’s next?If you’re new to Firebase, get started here. If you’re already building a mobile app on Firebase, check out this detailed guide on linking your Firebase project to BigQuery. For questions, take a look at the BigQuery reference docs and use the firebase-analytics and google-bigquery tags on Stack Overflow. And let me know if there are any particular topics you’d like me to cover in an upcoming post. Originally posted on Firebase blogPosted by Laurence Moroney, Developer Advocate and Alfonso Gómez Jordana, Associate Product ManagerFor most developers, building an authentication system for your app can feel a lot like paying taxes. They are both relatively hard to understand tasks that you have no choice but doing, and could have big consequences if you get them wrong. No one ever started a company to pay taxes and no one ever built an app just so they could create a great login system. They just seem to be inescapable costs.But now, you can at least free yourself from the auth tax. With Firebase Authentication, you can outsource your entire authentication system to Firebase so that you can concentrate on building great features for your app. Firebase Authentication makes it easier to get your users signed-in without having to understand the complexities behind implementing your own authentication system. It offers a straightforward getting started experience, optional UX components designed to minimize user friction, and is built on open standards and backed by Google infrastructure.Implementing Firebase Authentication is relatively fast and easy. From the Firebase console, just choose from the popular login methods that you want to offer (like Facebook, Google, Twitter and email/password) and then add the Firebase SDK to your app. Your app will then be able to connect securely with the real time database, Firebase storage or to your own custom back end. If you have an auth system already, you can use Firebase Authentication as a bridge to other Firebase features.Firebase Authentication also includes an open source UI library that streamlines building the many auth flows required to give your users a good experience. Password resets, account linking, and login hints that reduce the cognitive load around multiple login choices - they are all pre-built with Firebase Authentication UI. These flows are based on years of UX research optimizing the sign-in and sign-up journeys on Google, Youtube and Android. It includes Smart Lock for Passwords on Android, which has led to significant improvements in sign-in conversion for many apps. And because Firebase UI is open source, the interface is fully customizable so it feels like a completely natural part of your app. If you prefer, you are also free to create your own UI from scratch using our client APIs.And Firebase Authentication is built around openness and security. It leverages OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect, industry standards designed for security, interoperability, and portability. Members of the Firebase Authentication team helped design these protocols and used their expertise to weave in latest security practices like ID tokens, revocable sessions, and native app anti-spoofing measures to make your app easier to use and avoid many common security problems. And code is independently reviewed by the Google Security team and the service is protected in Google’s infrastructure.Fabulous use Firebase Auth to quickly implement sign-inFabulous uses Firebase Authentication to power their login system. Fabulous is a research-based app incubated in Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight. Its goal is to help users to embark on a journey to reset poor habits, replacing them with healthy rituals, with the ultimate goal of improving health and well-being.
The developers of Fabulous wanted to implement an onboarding flow that was easy to use, required minimal updates, and reduced friction with the end user. They wanted an anonymous option so that users could experiment with it before signing up. They also wanted to support multiple login types, and have an option where the user sign-in flow was consistent with the look and feel of the app.
“I was able to implement auth in a single afternoon. I remember that I spent weeks before creating my own solution that I had to update each time the providers changed their API” - Amine Laadhari, Fabulous CTO.
Malang Studio cut time-to market by months using Firebase AuthChu-Day is an application (available on Android and iOS) that helps couples to never forget the dates that matter most to them. It was created by the Korean firm Malang Studio, that develops character-centric, gamified lifestyle applications.
Generally, countdown and anniversary apps do not require users to sign-in, but Malang Studio wanted to make Chu-day special, and differentiate it from others by offering the ability to connect couples so they could jointly countdown to a special anniversary date. This required a sign-in feature, and in order to prevent users from dropping out, Chu-day needed to make the sign-in process seamless.
Malang Studio was able to integrate an onboarding flow in for their apps, using Facebook and Google Sign-in, in one day, without having to worry about server deployment or databases. In addition, Malang Studio has also been taking advantage of the Firebase User Management Console, which helped them develop and test their sign-in implementation as well as manage their users:
“Firebase Authentication required minimum configuration so implementing social account signup was easy and fast. User management feature provided in the console was excellent and we could easily implement our user auth system.” - Marc Yeongho Kim, CEO / Founder from Malang Studio
For more about Firebase Authentication, visit the developers site and watch our I/O 2016 session, “Best practices for a great sign-in experience.”
Originally posted on Firebase blog
Posted by Laurence Moroney, Developer Advocate and Alfonso Gómez Jordana, Associate Product Manager
For most developers, building an authentication system for your app can feel a lot like paying taxes. They are both relatively hard to understand tasks that you have no choice but doing, and could have big consequences if you get them wrong. No one ever started a company to pay taxes and no one ever built an app just so they could create a great login system. They just seem to be inescapable costs.
But now, you can at least free yourself from the auth tax. With Firebase Authentication, you can outsource your entire authentication system to Firebase so that you can concentrate on building great features for your app. Firebase Authentication makes it easier to get your users signed-in without having to understand the complexities behind implementing your own authentication system. It offers a straightforward getting started experience, optional UX components designed to minimize user friction, and is built on open standards and backed by Google infrastructure.
Implementing Firebase Authentication is relatively fast and easy. From the Firebase console, just choose from the popular login methods that you want to offer (like Facebook, Google, Twitter and email/password) and then add the Firebase SDK to your app. Your app will then be able to connect securely with the real time database, Firebase storage or to your own custom back end. If you have an auth system already, you can use Firebase Authentication as a bridge to other Firebase features.
Firebase Authentication also includes an open source UI library that streamlines building the many auth flows required to give your users a good experience. Password resets, account linking, and login hints that reduce the cognitive load around multiple login choices - they are all pre-built with Firebase Authentication UI. These flows are based on years of UX research optimizing the sign-in and sign-up journeys on Google, Youtube and Android. It includes Smart Lock for Passwords on Android, which has led to significant improvements in sign-in conversion for many apps. And because Firebase UI is open source, the interface is fully customizable so it feels like a completely natural part of your app. If you prefer, you are also free to create your own UI from scratch using our client APIs.
And Firebase Authentication is built around openness and security. It leverages OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect, industry standards designed for security, interoperability, and portability. Members of the Firebase Authentication team helped design these protocols and used their expertise to weave in latest security practices like ID tokens, revocable sessions, and native app anti-spoofing measures to make your app easier to use and avoid many common security problems. And code is independently reviewed by the Google Security team and the service is protected in Google’s infrastructure.
Fabulous use Firebase Auth to quickly implement sign-inFabulous uses Firebase Authentication to power their login system. Fabulous is a research-based app incubated in Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight. Its goal is to help users to embark on a journey to reset poor habits, replacing them with healthy rituals, with the ultimate goal of improving health and well-being.
The developers of Fabulous wanted to implement an onboarding flow that was easy to use, required minimal updates, and reduced friction with the end user. They wanted an anonymous option so that users could experiment with it before signing up. They also wanted to support multiple login types, and have an option where the user sign-in flow was consistent with the look and feel of the app.
“I was able to implement auth in a single afternoon. I remember that I spent weeks before creating my own solution that I had to update each time the providers changed their API” - Amine Laadhari, Fabulous CTO.
Malang Studio cut time-to market by months using Firebase AuthChu-Day is an application (available on Android and iOS) that helps couples to never forget the dates that matter most to them. It was created by the Korean firm Malang Studio, that develops character-centric, gamified lifestyle applications.
Generally, countdown and anniversary apps do not require users to sign-in, but Malang Studio wanted to make Chu-day special, and differentiate it from others by offering the ability to connect couples so they could jointly countdown to a special anniversary date. This required a sign-in feature, and in order to prevent users from dropping out, Chu-day needed to make the sign-in process seamless.
Malang Studio was able to integrate an onboarding flow in for their apps, using Facebook and Google Sign-in, in one day, without having to worry about server deployment or databases. In addition, Malang Studio has also been taking advantage of the Firebase User Management Console, which helped them develop and test their sign-in implementation as well as manage their users:
“Firebase Authentication required minimum configuration so implementing social account signup was easy and fast. User management feature provided in the console was excellent and we could easily implement our user auth system.” - Marc Yeongho Kim, CEO / Founder from Malang Studio
For more about Firebase Authentication, visit the developers site and watch our I/O 2016 session, “Best practices for a great sign-in experience.”
Ottomania
Greece/Cyprus drilling fracas
You guys need to talk about this!
https://www.rt.com/news/499062-greece-france-italy-exercise/
Also says a lot the Germans are trying to shush this: they are terrified of all the Erdoganists living in Germany.
This has the potential to turn into a new Suez crisis.
And can easily see a link with what happened in Lebanon too. Could be Turkey taking control there.
France & Italy throw weight behind Greece as naval war games kick off amid Athens-Ankara row '-- RT World News
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:27
France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus are staging a massive maritime exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean, in an apparent veiled nod to Turkey, which recently began researching oil and gas deposits in the area, raising ire in Athens.
Codenamed 'Eunomia', the aeronautical exercises launched on Wednesday off the southern shores of Cyprus, the host nation of the war games. Athens' defense minister announced the start of the drills earlier in the day, saying they are to reinforce ''the rule of law as part of the policy of de-escalating tensions.''
France, in turn, also confirmed the news, having dispatched its 'Lafayette' frigate, as well as three Rafale fighter jets. Italian and Cypriot vessels were also said to have joined the exercise in the eastern part of the Mediterranean.
A day prior, separate drills kicked off near the Greek island of Crete, this time involving Hellenic and US armed forces.
Cyprus, Greece, France and Italy have agreed to enter into a joint presence in Eastern MediterraneanJoint Military Exercise "EUNOMIA"26-28 August 2020 pic.twitter.com/TblX6z88dE
'-- IoannaDementiEU (@IoannaDementi) August 26, 2020The string of military exercises appears to be upping the ante in the festering feud between Greece and Turkey. Formally allies within NATO, the two nations have been at loggerheads over a number of issues, from historical discords to overlapping territorial claims in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Tensions recently flared up when a trove of gas and oil was discovered in the contentious waters. This week, Ankara announced that its Oruc Reis research vessel will carry on navigating the disputed waters between Cyprus and Crete. The news has caused outrage in Greece which views the research activities as unlawful and considers them an affront to its sovereignty.
Also on rt.com Greece may talk to Turkey, but not under 'military pressure', Athens says as rival drills begin in Eastern Mediterranean Ankara and Athens have been trading harsh statements over the issue in recent days, raising concerns in Europe. Berlin, which holds a rotating presidency in the EU, sent its foreign minister, Heiko Maas, to try and calm the rivals down. While in Athens, he cautioned both sides against ''playing with fire,'' suggesting that saber-rattling could evolve into a ''catastrophe.''
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Belarus
Hello Adam,
This is coming from postcommie country – our view on Lukashenko differs greatly from the western one.
That guy is hard line postcommunist, who was a Leninist politruk at one part of his career. Belarussians are as much satisfied with him as the ordinary Russian is satisfied with Putin. These nations were always trodden down by their leaders and are used to it, used to poverty too. Fact that they do not complain stems from the fact they usually disappeared when they did so. In the end those who complain now do disappear to these days. Usually into prison, but for example Russian FSB ( former KGB) is no stranger to poisonings.
Regardless of Francogerman agenda, that guy is no good for his country.
Clips
VIDEO-Donald J. Trump on Twitter: "Please watch highly respected Dr. Harvey Risch of Yale, on Hydroxychloroquine. https://t.co/WxaeZIp74l" / Twitter
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:44
Donald J. Trump : Please watch highly respected Dr. Harvey Risch of Yale, on Hydroxychloroquine. https://t.co/WxaeZIp74l
Mon Aug 24 01:59:24 +0000 2020
VIDEO-WATCH: CNN Panel Looks Glum As Wolf Blitzer Admits The RNC Has Been 'Well Produced, Very Efficient'
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:44
As night 1 of the RNC came to a close, CNN's Wolf Blitzer told his panel that he believed the RNC has been 'well produced' and 'very efficient'.
"I think it's fair to say, this first night of the Republican National Convention, whether you agree or disagree. So far, there has been a lot of speakers, it has been sort of well produced, very efficient. They are moving on pretty much on time,' said the long time CNN host.
sponsorHis panel of far-left guests didn't look too pleased to hear him say anything positive about the RNC. In fact, each one of them appeared to be holding back a scowl during his comments.
Watch below:
If the RNC can produce these stone-cold looks from Trump-haters on a nightly basis, we're in for a very fun night.
Comment below with your reaction...
VIDEO-Madagaskars Pr¤sident: WHO habe 20 Millionen Dollar Bestechungsgeld angeboten, um das Covid-19-Mittel zu kontaminieren
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:43
Der Pr¤sident von Madagaskar, Andry Rajoelina, hat Berichten zufolge behauptet, die Weltgesundheitsorganisation habe ein Bestechungsgeld in H¶he von 20 Millionen US-Dollar angeboten, um ein in seinem Land entwickeltes pflanzliches COVID-19-Heilmittel zu verteufeln.
COVID-19 Organics, ein Getr¤nk aus Artemisia, einer Pflanze mit nachweislichem Erfolg bei der Behandlung von Malaria, und anderen einheimischen Pflanzen, kann laut Pr¤sident Andry Rajoelina Coronavirus-Patienten innerhalb von zehn Tagen heilen.
Rajoelina sagte, Madagaskar habe nun die Weltgesundheitsorganisation WHO verlassen und andere afrikanische Nationen aufgefordert, dasselbe zu tun, da die Nachfrage nach dem Kr¤uterheilmittel w¤chst.
Der sambische Beobachter berichtet: Er stellte auch die Frage, ob es so viele Zweifel geben w¼rde, wenn es ein europ¤isches Land w¤re, das dieses Mittel tats¤chlich entdeckt h¤tte.
Der Pr¤sident von Madagaskar, Andry Rajoelina, hat der Weltgesundheitsorganisation eine Verschw¶rung vorgeworfen, COVID-19 Organics, das lokale afrikanische 'žHeilmittel'' f¼r das vergiftete Virus, zu haben. Rajoelina behauptet, die WHO habe ein Bestechungsgeld in H¶he von 20 Millionen US-Dollar angeboten, um ihre Medizin zu vergiften, berichtete Tanzania Perspective auf der Titelseite ihrer Ausgabe vom 14. Mai.
Der Pr¤sident von Madagaskar glaubt, dass der einzige Grund, warum der Rest der Welt sich geweigert hat, Madagaskars Heilmittel gegen das Coronavirus mit Dringlichkeit und Respekt zu behandeln, darin besteht, dass das Mittel aus Afrika stammt.
Das ist das Titelfoto der afrikanischen Zeitung:
In einem Interview mit franz¶sischen Medien sagte Pr¤sident Rajoelina Berichten zufolge, er habe bemerkt, was seiner Meinung nach auf die ¼bliche Herablassung gegen¼ber Afrikanern zur¼ckzuf¼hren sei. Das Interview des staatlichen Senders kann man in englischer 'bersetzung sehen.
Ich denke, das Problem ist, dass (das Getr¤nk) aus Afrika kommt und sie nicht zugeben k¶nnen '... dass ein Land wie Madagaskar '... diese Formel entwickelt hat, um die Welt zu retten.>>
'žWas ist eigentlich das Problem mit Covid-Organics? K¶nnte es sein, dass dieses Produkt aus Afrika stammt? K¶nnte es sein, dass es f¼r ein Land wie Madagaskar, das 63. ¤rmste Land der Welt, nicht in Ordnung ist, (diese Formel) zu entwickeln, die helfen kann, die Welt zu retten? >>
Wenn es nicht Madagaskar w¤re und wenn es ein europ¤isches Land w¤re, das dieses Mittel tats¤chlich entdeckt h¤tte, g¤be es dann so viele Zweifel? Das glaube ich nicht '', sagte Afrikas j¼ngstes Staatsoberhaupt, der Pr¤sident von Madagaskar, Andry Rajoelina.
Das Mittel, COVID Organics, wird aus Artemisia hergestellt, einer Pflanze, die in den 1970er Jahren aus China nach Madagaskar importiert wurde, um Malaria zu behandeln. Artemisia hat sich als erfolgreich gegen Malaria erwiesen und kann laut Pr¤sident Rajoelina COVID-19-Patienten innerhalb von zehn Tagen heilen.
Die WHO hat jedoch solche nat¼rlichen therapeutischen MaŸnahmen gegen das Coronavirus als blinden Glauben kritisiert. Als Antwort auf die Skepsis, mit der die WHO die COVID Organics behandelt, sagte Rajoelina: Kein Land oder keine Organisation wird uns davon abhalten, weiterzumachen.>>
Eine Vielzahl anderer afrikanischer L¤nder, darunter Tansania, Guinea-Bissau, DR Kongo und Niger, haben das von Madagaskan hergestellte Rezept importiert.
Im Kongo wurden bei einem Angriff von K¤mpfern mindestens 20 Menschen get¶tet
VIDEO-Biden Supporters Can't Think Of A Single Thing He's Proposed - YouTube
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:35
VIDEO-NBC 5 Responds: How Robots Are Helping to Enforce Mask Orders '' NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:32
NBC 5 RESPONDS: HOW ROBOTS ARE HELPING TO ENFORCE MASKORDERS
Trinity Metro is one of the firstagencies in the country to deploy this type of technology at its train stationsin Fort Worth.
A north Texasagency is one of the first places in the country to use a new, robotictechnology, that will help enforce mask orders-- hoping to end person-to-personconflicts.
LocalThe latest news from around North Texas.
There have beenseveral confrontations caught on camera showing angry customers confronted forignoring mandatory mask policies. Severalof those videos have gone viral.
''They'rehorrifying videos, they're just horrifying, they're not fun,'' said SteveReinharz, founder and CEO of Robotic Assistance Devices.
Reinharz's companyis trying to take ugliness out of these encounters by deploying a robot at publicplaces.
''We developed a face mask analytic so we can either say look forpeople with face masks on or look for people without a face masks on,'' saidReinharz.
They call therobot, ROSA, which means responsive observation security agent.
When ROSA recognizesa person about to enter a business without a mask, you hear and see the warningimmediately.
''It is anonbiased, non-confrontational approach to reminding people to wear their facemask,''
Jon-Erik ''AJ'' Arjanen,vice president and COO for Trinity Metro.
Trinity Metro isone of the first agencies in the country to deploy this type of technology atits train stations in Fort Worth. Theagency told NBC 5 the device also frees up staff.
''We've had the ROSAs up for about justabout a month now and have really great feedback on those,'' said Arjanen. ''Innovationand technology is advancing every day and it is what we're trying to do. Froman agency standpoint to leverage this. So, again, we can better utilize ourhuman capital at other locations where there might be a greater need,'' saidArjanen.
The robot'screator acknowledges someone couldchose to ignore the messages, but he says businesses are bracing for the possibilitythey'll have to enforce Covid-19 safety measures for years to come and hope toavoid the confrontations seen in recent months.
''If you have a machine tell you to do something it blows my mind that thelevel of compliance is just skyrocketing,'' said Reinharz.
The robotic maskdetection technology has only been on the market since late July. The companysays they're deploying them at businesses all over the country.
VIDEO-Bay Area fires: More evacuations lifted as California firefight progresses | KRON4
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:24
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) '' Firefighters hard-pressed by some of the largest wildfires in California history are scrambling to take advantage of cooler weather and reinforcements as they carve and burn containment lines around the flames.
Progress continues to be made on three major blazes around the Bay Area.
Cal Fire officials say cooler and more humid weather in the morning and evening is expected to be the pattern through Friday.
The blazes have killed at least seven people and burned some 1,300 homes.
>>>DAMAGE STATUS: CLICK HERE for LNU Lightning Complex Structure Damage Status Map
CZU Lightning Complex (San Mateo, Santa Cruz counties)Size: 81,137 acresContainment: 21% Injuries: 0Fatalities: 1 Structures Destroyed: 590 (579 in Santa Cruz County)Structures Threatened: 24,323Structures Damaged: 43
UC Santa Cruz Update: On Wednesday evening, evacuation orders were lifted for the University of California, Santa Cruz. Operations will resume 'through a phased opening,' according to the chancellor and the chief of police.
CZU Evacuation Order, Warning Map
Evacuation OrdersSan Mateo CountyCommunities of Loma Mar and Dearborn Park Pescadero Creek County Park AreaButano Community AreaButano State Park Area including Barranca Knolls CommunityButano Creek Drainage South Skyline Blvd. area near Hwy 9Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve Area Middleton Tract Area ZonePortola Redwoods State Park and Portola Heights Community AreaPescadero Beach Area (Zone SMC E073)Bean Hollow Area (Zone SMC E042)Pescadero Area (Zone SMC E043)San Gregorio Area (Zone SMC E022)La Honda Area (Zone SMC E028)Red Barn Area (Zone E010)Russian Ridge Open Space Area (Zone SMC E027)Skylonda Area (Zone SMC E012)Langley Hill Area (Zone SMC E010)Santa Cruz County Waterman Gap Loop, Upper HWY 236, Boulder Creek Golf Course, Heartwood Hill, Lodge Road, Community of Little Basin, Lower China Grade, Upper China Grade, Community of Kings Hwy, Lower Jamison Creek, Gallion Heights, Fallen Leaf Neighborhood, Foxglove Lane (Zones CRZ10, CRZ13, BOU36, BOU20, BOU30, BOU31, BOU36, BOU37, BOU21) (8/18/2020 10 pm)Saratoga Toll Road, San Lorenzo Park, Riverside Grove-Community of Teilh Drive, Wildwood Road (Zones: BOU38, BOU39, BOU40, BOU41, BOU42, BOU43) (8/18/2020 7:30 PM)Everyone on Empire Grade Road, from Felton Empire north, all of Pine Flat Road, all of Ice Cream Grade, Bonny Doon Road, in between Pine Flat Road, Martin Road, and all associated side streets are under an evacuation order. (CRZ1, CRZ2, CRZ3, CRZ4, CRZ5, CRZ10, CRZ11, CRZ12, CRZ13, CRZ14, CRZ15) (8/19/2020 1:00 am)Bonny Doon south of Ice Cream Grade, to include Pine Flat Road South is now under an evacuation order. (CRZ7, CRZ8)Areas of Alba Road, Hubbard Gulch and Fanning Grade. (BEN 1) (8/19/2020 6:00 pm)All areas of Ben Lomond (Zones BEN 2 '' BEN 5) (8/19/2020 7:00 pm) The area of Lompico (Zones ZAY 11, ZAY 12)All areas adjacent to the Bonny Doon and San Lorenzo Valley should be prepared to evacuate if necessary. (CRZ7, CRZ8) (8/20/2020 1:00 am)Areas West of Highway 9 to Empire GradeSouth from Bear Creek Road to Felton, this includes Ben LomondParadise Park (Zones: CRZ 63, CRZ 64) (8/20/2020 7:00pm)The areas of Zayante Canyon (Zones: ZAY 1 '' ZAY 17) (8/20/2020 1:00 pm)Scotts Valley West of State Route 17 (Zones: SCO 1-5, SCO 7, SCO 14-20, SCO 21 '' SCO 25) (8/20/2020 7:00 pm)Davenport south (Zones: CRZ 6, CRZ 9, CRZ 17) (8/19/2020 7:00 pm)All areas of Felton (Zones: FEL 1 '' FEL 6) (8/20/2020 8:00 am)Butano State Park area including Barrranca Knolls Community (Zone: SMC E019) (8/18/2020 4:30 pm)East of Zayante Canyon west of State Route 17 and south of State Route 35 (Zones: CRZ 18, CRZ 19, CRZ 20) (8/20/2020 7:00 pm)Evacuation Warnings There are currently no evacuation warnings in place.
Evacuation CentersSan Mateo CountyHalf Moon Bay High School: 1 Lewis Foster Drive Half Moon BaySan Mateo Event Center at 1346 Saratoga DriveSanta Cruz CountySanta Cruz County Fairground, 2601 E. Lake Avenue in WatsonvilleSanta Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz (AT CAPACITY)Seventh Day Adventist Camp Grounds, 1931 Soquel San Jose Rd (AT CAPACITY)Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos CASanta Cruz Bible Church, 440 Frederick Street, Santa CruzSimpkins Family Swim Center, 919 17th Ave (ADA only)Twin Lakes Church, 2701 Cabrillo College DriveAnimal Evacuation CentersSanta Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 E. Lake Avenue in WatsonvilleLarge farm animals are being accepted at Cowpalace. For information and assistance contact (650) 450-0520Watsonville Animal Shelter, 580 Airport BlvdRoad ClosuresSan Mateo CountyPescadero Creek Road between Alpine and Cloverdale Rd.Cloverdale Road between Pescadero Creek Road and Gazos Creek.Whitehouse Canyon Road at Highway 1Portola Heights Road at SkylineState Route 1 at Rossi RoadState Route 1 at Ano NuevoSanta Cruz CountyState Route 1 at Shaffer Road to Ano NuevoState Route 9 at Lower Glen Arbor to Rincon TrailheadEmpire Grade at Heller DriveUpper Zayante South closed at SR 35Hutchinson Road at SR 35Granite Creek at Scotts Valley, this includes southbound offramp closure at Highway 17 at Granite CreekWestbound Mount Hermon at La Modrona to Graham Hill RoadSims Road at La Madrona DriveGraham Hill at Sims RoadGlenwood Drive at Weston RoadMountain Charlie at SR 35Glennwood Drive at SR 17Glennwood cutoff at SR 17Southbound SR 17 at Granite Creek offrampSouthbound SR 17 at the Sims Road offrampLNU Lightning Complex (Lake, Sonoma, Napa counties)Size: 360,868 acresContainment: 33%Injuries: 4Fatalities: 5 Structures Destroyed: 1,080Structures Threatened: 30,500Structures Damaged: 272
>>>DAMAGE STATUS: CLICK HERE for LNU Lightning Complex Structure Damage Status Map
This complex includes:
Hennessey Fire in Napa and Lake County (merged with Gamble, Green, Markley, Spanish, Aetna, Round, Morgan Fires): 303,155 acres; 33% containedWalbridge Fire in Sonoma County (merged with Stewarts): 55,353 acres; 19% containedMeyers Fire in Sonoma County: 2,360 acres; 97% containedLNU Evacuation Order, Warning Map
Evacuation OrdersLake CountyHidden Valley Lake/Jerusalem Valley AreasNorth of Butts CanyonSouth of Hofacker Ln. to Morgan Valley Rd.East of Hwy 29West of Lake / Napa County lineEast of Middletown AreaEast of Hwy 29North of Lake / Napa County line up to the intersection of Hey. 29 and St. Helena Creek (Across from Twin Pine Casino)St. Helena Creek RdSouth of Butts Canyon Rd.Lower Lake Area (South)East of Hwy. 29South of Morgan Valley Rd.West of Lake / Napa County lineNorth of Hofacker Ln. extending east to Morgan Valley Rd. Lower Lake Area (North)North of Morgan Valley Rd.East of Sky High Ridge Rd. extending north to Hwy. 20South of Hwy. 20West of Lake / Napa / Colusa County linesNapa CountyHighway 128 between Monticello Dam and Moskowite Corners (SR128/121 intersection)Wragg CanyonMarkley CovePleasure CoveHighway 121 (Monticello Rd) Between Moskowite Corners (SR128/121 intersection) and Longhorn Ridge RoadHighway 128 (Capell Valley Road/Sage Canyon Rd) from Silverado Trail to Hwy 121 (Monticello Road)Steel Canyon RoadCommunity of Berryessa HighlandsChiles and Lower Chiles Pope Valley RoadsBerryessa-Knoxville Road from Hwy128 (at Turtle Rock) to Lake County LineCommunity at Spanish Flat Loop RoadCommunity of Berryessa PinesBoth sides, including resorts and recreational areas of Lake Berryessa, KnoxvilleAtlas Peak Road from 3682 Atlas Peak Road (Circle R Ranch) to the dead endDeer Park Road from Silverado Trail, east to Howell Mountain RoadCommunity of Deer ParkSt. Helena HospitalHowell Mountain Road, east to Pope ValleyCommunity of AngwinPacific Union CollegeAll of Pope Valley Road and connecting roadsPope Valley CrossHardinAetna Springs RoadJames Creek RoadAll of Butts Canyon Road and connecting Roads in Napa County of NapaSnell Valley RoadStagecoach RoadCommunity of Berryessa EstatesGlass Mountain RoadCrystal Springs RoadProperties on the east side of Highway 29 between Silverado Trail and Lake County lineOld Lawley Toll RoadPalisades RoadSonoma CountyZone '' 1B3
East of McCray Ridge Road and Pool RidgeNorth of Old Cazadero RoadWest of King Ridge RoadSouth of Skaggs Springs RoadZone '' 1D5
East of Armstrong Woods RoadNorth of the Russian RiverWest of Westside RoadSouth of Sweetwater Springs RoadZone '' 2A3
North of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road to the eastern edge of Lake SonomaEverything west of the eastern edge of Lake Sonoma to the western boundary that runs north along the ridge line from the intersection of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Rd @ Old Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road to the interception of Rockpile Road @ Cooley Ranch Road north to the Mendocino County Line. This is a very rural area with no clear defining boundaries.Zone '' 2E1
South of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs RoadNorth of Palmer Creek Road and Stewart Point Skaggs Springs RoadWest of McCray RoadEast of Wallace Creek RoadZone '' 2E2
South of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs RoadNorth of Chemise RoadWest of the center of Dry Creek (the actual creek)East of Wallace Creek RoadZone '' 2E3
South of Chemise RoadNorth of Westside RoadEast of Wallace Creek RoadWest of the Center of Dry Creek (the actual creek)Zone '' 2E4
South of Palmer Creek RoadNorth of McCray Ridge Road and Sweetwater Springs RoadEast of the Dry Creek (the actual creek)Solano CountyAll areas within Solano County, west of the Napa County line, south of the Yolo County line within the burn areaYolo CountyZone 1Zone 2Evacuation WarningsLake CountyMiddletown AreaWest of Hwy. 29North and East of Lake / NapaSouth of Anderson Springs Rd. / Neft Rd. / Boggs Mt. Rec. Area extending northeast to Hwy. 29 / Hofacker Ln.Lower Lake AreaEast of Big Canyon Rd. / Perini Rd. / Seigler Canyon Rd.South and west of Hwy. 29North of the previous evacuation order/warning line of Anderson Springs Rd. / Neft Rd. / Boggs Mt. Rec. Area extending northeast to Hwy. 29 / Hofacker Ln.East Lake County AreaEast of Old Long Valley Rd./New Long Valley Rd., extending north to the Lake/Colusa County lineNorth of Highway 20South and west of the Lake/Colusa County lineNapa CountySilverado Trail south from Rosendale Rd. to HWY 128 (Sage Canyon Road) to include the areas of Fawn Park, Madrone Knolls, Meadowood, Howell Mountain Road including roads off of Howell Mountain Road up to and including Conn Valley Road, Taplin Road, Rutherford Hill Road and Long Ranch Road (Crystal Springs Rd. and Glass Mountain Rd. are under order)HWY 128 (Sage Canyon Road) up to Chiles Pope Valley RoadSoda Canyon from Loma Vista to 3700 Soda Canyon Road (Dead End)Atlas Peak from 2462 Atlas Peak Road (Bubbling Wells Pet Cemetery) to 3683 Atlas Peak Road.Highway 121 (Monticello Road) to Longhorn Ridge Road, to include the Circle Oaks sub-division, along with the communities of Wooden Valley and Gordon Valley to the Napa/Solano County line This will include Wooden Valley Road, Wooden Valley Cross Road, Gordon Valley Road, and all connecting roadsSonoma CountyZone '' 2A2
North of the Dry Creek and the northern fork of Lake Sonoma CountyWest of Dutcher Creek, City of Coverdale city limits and Hwy 128South of the Mendocino County lineYolo CountyZone 3Evacuation CentersLake CountyKelseyville High School parking lot: 5480 Main Street in KelseyvilleNapa CountyCrosswalk Community Church at 2590 First Street in NapaSonoma CountySanta Rosa Fairgrounds: 1350 Bennett Valley Road in Santa RosaPetaluma Veterans Building: 1094 Petaluma Blvd in South PetalumaAnimal Evacuation CentersNapa CountyNapa County Animal Shelter at 942 Hartle Court in NapaValley Brook Equestrian Center at 1132 EL Centro Ave. in NapaNapa Valley Horseman's Association at 1200 Foster Road in Napa Ag 4 Youth at 1200 Foster Rd. in Napa Solano CountyVallejo Fairgrounds, 900 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo (large animals, current count 211 animals)Solano County Animal Shelter, 2510 Claybank Rd (small animals only, current count 285 animals)Kelseyville High School parking lot 5480 Main Street Kelseyville, CARoad ClosuresLake CountyLower LakeMorgan Valley Road eastbound at Sky High Ridge Rd. Spruce Grove Road (north) eastbound at SR 29Clayton Creek Road eastbound at SR 29Hofacker Lane eastbound at SR 29Lake Ridge Road northbound at Morgan Valley RoadA Street eastbound at SR 29Hidden Valley LakeSpruce Grove Road (south) eastbound at SR 29Hartman Road eastbound at SR 29Grange Road eastbound at SR 29MiddletownButts Canyon Road eastbound at SR 29Napa CountySR-121 at Circle Oaks '-- closed EastboundSR-128 at Napa/Solano county line '-- No traffic westboundButts Canyon Road at Guenoc SR-128 at Silverado TrailAtlas Peak Road at Circle R RanchHowell Mountain RoadDeer Park at Silverado TrailGlass Mountain Road and Silverado TrailCrystal Springs at Silverado TrailSonoma County22303 Skaggs Springs Road at Anvil RanchDry Creek Road at Dutcher Creek RoadDry Creek Road at Yoakim Bridge RoadDry Creek Road at Lambert Bridge RoadWestside Road at Hendricks StreetWohler Road at Eastside RoadSolano CountyFoothill Road westbound at Auburn WayCherry Glenn Road westbound at Lyon RoadLyon Road southbound at Cherry GlennPleasants Valley Road southbound at SR 128Pleasants Valley Road northbound at Cherry Glenn RoadLyon Road northbound at Rollingwood Dr.Gibson Canyon Road southbound at Cantelow Rd. Cantelow Rd. westbound at Gibson Canyon Rd. Gibson Canyon Rd. N northbound at Solar Hills Dr. Putah Creek Rd. westbound at 3851 Putah Creek Rd. Peaceful Glen Rd. westbound at Olivas LaneVaca Valley Rd. E westbound at Bucktown LaneBucktown Lane northbound at Vaca Valley Rd. ESCU Lightning Complex (Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara counties)Size: 367,371Containment: 30%Injuries: 3 first responders, 2 civiliansFatalities: 0Structures Destroyed: 20Structures Threatened: 20,065Structures Damaged: 6
The main fires in this complex are:
Deer Zone (Contra Costa County): Round Fire, Palm Fire, Marsh Fire, Briones FireCalaveras Zone (Alameda/Santa Clara/Stanislaus counties): Kilkare Fire, Arroyo Fire, Mill Creek Fire, Welch Fire, Ohlone Fire, Reservoir FireCanyon Zone (Stanislaus/San Joaquin/Merced counties): Peg Leg Fire, Terravilla Fire, Del Puerto Fire, and Peach Fire SCU Evacuation Order, Warning Map
Evacuation OrdersAlameda CountyZone 12
All of Mines Road, south of Mile Marker 10 to the county lineZone 15F
South of fire perimeter to the Alameda/Santa Clara County LineSanta Clara CountyZone 2A
East of the fire perimeter to Mines Rd. and San Antonio Rd.West of Mines Rd. and San Antonio Rd. to the fire perimeterSouth of the Alameda/Santa Clara County line to HWY 130North of HWY 130 to the Alameda/Santa Clara County lineZone 3A
East of San Felipe Rd. to the Santa Clara/Stanislaus County lineSouth of Mt. Hamilton/HWY 130West of Santa Clara/Stanislaus County line to San Felipe Rd. Zone 5
East of Shingle Valley Rd. and everything East of Anderson Lake, East of Coyote Creek, East of Coyote Reservoir, East of Rood Rd., East of Leavesley Rd., East of Crews Rd. East of Ferguson Rd.East and North of HWY 152West of the Merced County Line, North of HWY 152South of Metcalf Rd. at Shingle Valley Rd., East to the Stanislaus County lineZone 9
South of the Alameda/Santa Clara County Line in between Mines Rd. and the Stanislaus/San Joaquin County line to Del Puerto Canyon Rd. East of Mines Rd to Santa Clara/Stanislaus County Line North of Del Puerto Canyon Rd. to Alameda/Santa Clara County Line in between Mines Rd. and the Stanislaus/San Joaquin County West of Santa Clara/Stanislaus County Line to Mines Rd. in between the Alameda/Santa Clara County Line and Del Puerto Canyon Rd.San Joaquin CountyZone 10A
South of the fire perimeter to the Alameda and Stanislaus County lineStanislaus CountyZone 7A
Everything within the fire perimeter South of Orestimba Rd. and Orestimba Creek to the Stanislaus/Merced County Line West of the fire perimeter to the I-5 North of the Stanislaus/Merced County Line to Orestimba Rd. and Orestimba Creek East of the I-5 in between Orestimba Rd. and the Stanislaus/Merced County Line to the fire perimeterEvacuation WarningsAlameda CountyZone 15A
South of Tesla Rd., South of the Livermore City limits (excluding the cities of Livermore and Pleasanton), South of HWY 84 in between Vineyard Ave. and I-680, South of I-680 to the fire perimeter and the Alameda/Santa Clara County lineWest of the Alameda/San Joaquin County line to the Livermore city limits, to Calaveras Rd. North of fire perimeter and the Alameda/Santa Clara County line to HWY 84 to the Livermore city limitsZone 15B
South of Welch Creek Rd. to the fire perimeter and the Alameda/Santa Clara County lineEast of Calaveras Rd. at Welch Creek Rd. to the fire perimeterZone 19
Inside of the Ohlone fire perimeterSanta Clara CountyZone 2B
East of Sierra Rd. and Felter Rd., East of Milpitas and San Jose City limits to the fire perimeterNorth of Mt. Hamilton Rd. to the Alameda/Santa Clara County Line*Marsh Rd. remains closed at the fire perimeter located at Arroyo Hondo BridgeZone 3B
West of San Felipe Rd. to the San Jose City limitsNorth of Metcalf Rd. to the San Jose City limitsEast of San Jose City limits to San Felipe Rd. South of San Jose City limits to Metcalf Rd. Zone 3C
Quimby Rd. north of HWY 130East of San Jose City limits to Mt. Hamilton Rd. South of Mt. Hamilton Rd. to Quimby Rd.Mt. Hamilton Rd. west to the San Jose City limitsZone 4A
North of Magnolia Ct. and Magnolia WayEast of Lower Thomas Grade along the East Dunne Corridor Eats of HWY 101 to Metcalf Rd., East of Coyote Creek, East of Cochrane Rd., East of Hill Rd., South of Main Ave., North of Dunne Ave., West of Shingle Valley Rd. and Anderson Lake, to include the Jackson Oaks and Holiday Lake Estates South of Metcalf Rd.Zone 4B
South of Dunne Ave. and west of Lower Thomas Grade, East of Hill Rd., North of Maple Ave., Foothill Ave., North of San Martin Ave., East of New Ave. North of Roop Rd., West of Coyote Creek and Coyote LakeZone 6
East of Lovers Lane and the Santa Clara County lineSouth of HWY 152 to the San Benito County line west to the Merced County lineNorth of the San Benito County line to HWY 152San Joaquin CountyZone 10B
South of West Corral Hollow Rd. to the fire perimeter to the Alameda County line and Stanislaus County lineWest of I-580 to Alameda County line outside the fire perimeterEast of the Alameda county line to I-580 and the Stanislaus County line outside the fire perimeter North of the San Joaquin/Stanislaus County Line to Corral Hollow Rd., outside the perimeter Stanislaus CountyZone 7B
Everything within the fire perimeter South of Orestimba Rd. and Orestimba Creek to the Stanislaus/Merced County Line West of the fire perimeter to the I-5 North of the Stanislaus/Merced County Line to Orestimba Rd. and Orestimba Creek East of the I-5 in between Orestimba Rd. and the Stanislaus/Merced County Line to the fire perimeterZone 7C
South of Orestimba Rd. and Orestimba Creek to the Stanislaus/Merced County line west of I-5 to the fire perimeterNorth of the Stanislaus/Merced County line to Orestimba Rd. and Orestimba Creek east of the fire perimeter to I-5Zone 8
All areas of Diablo Grande Pkwy and the Diablo Grande Community have been lifted to an evacuation warning to residents onlyMerced County Zone 14
North of Hwy 152 to I-5 to the Santa Clara County Line and Stanislaus County LineWest of the I-5, excluding the community of Santa NellaEast of Santa Clara County Line and Stanislaus County Line to the Delta-MendotaSouth of the Stanislaus County Line to Hwy 152 Evacuation CentersCreekside Middle School: 535 Peregrine Drive in PattersonMilpitas Library: 160 N. Main St in MilpitasAnn Sobrato High School Performing Arts Building at 401 Burnett Avenue in Morgan HillAnimal Evacuation CentersCounty of Santa Clara Animal Services: (408 )686-3900 (For the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy)Hold Your Horses Live Stock: (925)-584-1976 (Large Animals in Canyon Zone)Alameda County Animal Services (925)803-7041 (Large and small animal shelter and assistance)Road ClosuresMines Rd. at DelValle Road (DelValle residents only)Intersection of Mines Rd., Del Puerto Canyon Rd. and San Antonio Valley Rd. '' No traffic north or south (west) from intersectionQuimby Rd. at Mount Hamilton Rd. '' Hard closureMetcalf Rd. at San Felipe Rd '' No traffic south of intersectionE. Dunne Ave. at Holiday '' No traffic east of intersectionRoop at Coyote Reservoir '' No traffic north or east of intersectionCanada at 152 '' No traffic north of intersectionBell Station, north of 152 '' No traffic north of 152Woodward Fire (Marin County)Size: 2,739 acresContainment: 5%
Evacuation OrdersSilverhills RdFox DriveNoren WyEvacuation WarningsWest of Shoreline Highway between Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Olema south to BolinasWest of Hwy 1 and Sir Francis Drake Blvd (northern intersection) to the Point Reyes Lighthouse (includes communities of Olema, Inverness, Inverness Park, Sea Haven)Sir Francis Drake to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, continuing to the Bolinas Ridge Fire Road and the McCurdy Trail '' all areas west of those intersectionsPoint Reyes National Seashore west of Highway 1 is now closed to all visitorsHighway 1 at the greenbridge (Lagunitas Creek) south to the intersection of Highway 1 and Sir Francis Drake (Southern Intersection in Olema). Sir Francis Drake to the top of Olema Hill '' everything north of Sir Francis Drake.Everything between the above intersections to the east to Olema Hill and west of Highway 1.Park ClosuresPoint Reyes National Seashore total closure
Road ClosuresLimantor RoadCoastal traffic be limited to local traffic onlyThis is a developing story. Check back for updates.The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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VIDEO-Finally! Someone in the MSM Exposes Bill Gates | The Conscious Resistance Network
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:12
Derrick Broze covers a recent expose by the Columbia Journalism Review which examines Bill Gates' influence on mainstream media.
Sources:
Journalism's Gates keepersBill Gates's Charity Paradox
Jeffrey Epstein's Harvard Connections Show How Money Can Distort Research
Derrick Broze's investigation: Bill Gates' Web Of Dark Money And Influence
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VIDEO-Arrest made in 1986 murder of Nancy Daugherty | www.WDIO.com
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:06
The suspect is 52-year-old Michael Allen Carbo Jr. of Chisholm.
Carbo was arrested Wednesday and booked into the St. Louis County Jail on probable cause of 2nd Degree Murder. He is awaiting arraignment.
According to police, Carbo was 17-years-old at the time of Daugherty's murder. Police do not believe Carbo and Daugherty knew each other.
Police say Carbo had some minor charges, but did not say what those charges were. They added that Carbo had not been a person of interest in their investigation, despite having interviewed hundreds of suspects in Daugherty's murder.
Daugherty was last seen alive just after Midnight on July 16, 1986. That afternoon, Chisholm police officers conducting a welfare check located her body inside of her home. She had been beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled.
Evidence at the scene indicated that a struggle had occurred both outside and inside the home. Witnesses later reported hearing a woman screaming in the early morning hours.
In early 2020, the Chisholm Police Department approached the BCA wanting to provide a sample of the DNA evidence to Parabon. The company analyzes public genealogy databases that have law enforcement programs to generate leads in cases. The BCA laboratory coordinated with the company to provide a DNA sample from the decades-old evidence. Based on their analysis and search, Parabon in July identified the suspect as a potential suspect in the case.
BCA agents and Chisholm investigators began surveillance on the suspect last week and surreptitiously obtained DNA evidence that was sent to the BCA laboratory for analysis.
On Monday, the BCA laboratory reported a DNA match to the bodily fluids found on the victim and at the scene. Wednesday morning, investigators obtained a DNA sample directly from the suspect with his consent. The BCA laboratory tested the known DNA sample, providing confirmation this afternoon of a DNA match.
"We are gratified to be able to provide some answers to this family and this community after all of these years," Chisholm Police Chief Vern Manner said. "We are grateful as well to the BCA and so many assisting law enforcement agencies that continued to work this case over more than three decades."
"This case illustrates why no case is ever cold for us," BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said. "Every time we hit a dead end, investigators and scientists go back to the drawing board. Solving this case is proof of the value of tenacious work '' even when it's over a span of decades."
Carbo will be charged in the days ahead by the St. Louis County Attorney's Office. This remains an ongoing and active investigation.
VIDEO-Kenny Smith Walks Off The Set Of Inside The NBA In Support Of The Players | Barstool Sports
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:05
The dominos continue to fall. I wouldn't be surprised if we start to see a lot more of this not just across sports, but in other professions as well. Check out Coley's blogs on the current state of the NBA playoffs and what's going on in the MLB here.
VIDEO-CA Governor Newsom Press Conference | August 26, 2020 - YouTube
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:49
VIDEO-CA Governor Newsom Press Conference | August 26, 2020 - YouTube
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:49
VIDEO-CA Governor Newsom Press Conference | August 26, 2020 - YouTube
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:48
VIDEO-San D(@brokencastle) on TikTok: #trump #republican #democrat #fakenews #woke #wakeup #patriots
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:34
@brokencastle
#trump #republican #democrat #fakenews #woke #wakeup #patriots
original sound
VIDEO-Austin's top doctor sends letter to sororities, fraternities following photos of gatherings | KXAN Austin
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 11:13
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- At Austin Public Health's weekly COVID-19 briefing for members of the press, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott addressed recent footage posted to social media which shows young people gathering outdoors in Austin.
Escott said he was ''disappointed'' yesterday when he saw to see photos ''of young people on the streets of Austin.'' While Escott did not specify which photos he was referring to, this message came alongside his public health reminders to college students and a warning that fraternity and sorority houses would be getting a letter from the health department Wednesday reminding them ''of their legal responsibilities in this pandemic.''
Austin Public Health updated KXAN Wednesday afternoon with a copy of this letter that was sent out to Greek Life organizations. The letter reminds these groups of the local orders to protect against COVID-19 from both Austin Mayor Steve Adler as well as Dr. Escott. These groups are warned that violations could result in punishments including criminal prosecution and a fine
''We need to do better. We all have to be engaged in this mission together. We have to show that as college students in Austin Texas that we can be responsible as well, that we can forgo the usual, the customary things we do as college students temporarily as we fight this dangerous pandemic.''
Dr. Mark Escott Austin-Travis County Interim Health AuthorityEscott continued, ''I think it's important for student leaders to stand up as well and say that same message to their peers, that we have to be responsible right now and we are not going to be the cause of a potential outbreak.''
University of Texas addresses video of people congregating without masks in West CampusThis comes after video and photos from Monday night have been passed around on social media showing what appears to be a group of young women gathering in West Campus, wearing halos but not masks. A person who filmed this incident told KXAN it happened at around 6 p.m. Monday on the corner of Rio Grande and West 22nd 1/2 streets outside the Hardin House.
Tuesday, UT Austin addressed this incident in a statement, suggesting the young women pictured in these photos are UT students who belong to organizations with national offices.
The university said these students ''put themselves and others at risk and should get tested through the University's Proactive Community Testing Program.''
UT added that it will be ''reaching out to the advisors and national offices of the groups whose members were at the gathering to reinforce our expectations and will continue to look to the City of Austin to enforce its orders on public gatherings.''
UT students who violate COVID-19 rules could face suspension, but not finesUT previously explained to KXAN that it plans to enforce violations of COVID-19 rules on campus through student conduct consequences, including suspension. The UT Police Department only enforces state rules, not the City of Austin rules, so the university said it will ''continue to look to the City of Austin to enforce its orders on public gatherings.''
What health leaders plan to doOn Wednesday, Escott reminded Greek Life facilities that as site operators in the City of Austin, they have a responsibility to follow the Health Authority COVID-19 orders. While UT may have authority on campus, students off campus are beholden to the city of Austin rules.
''I have confidence that UT as well as the other colleges and universities will do their part,'' Escott said.
''We know this is a group which is at higher risk because of the interactions that they have with one another,'' he said of college students.
Escott also suggested he has confidence that UT and other higher education institutions ''will enforce the rules.''
Austin Public Health Director Stephanie Hayden noted that APH plans to have a few meetings with representatives from fraternities and sororities ''and inform them 'these are the rules that are in place.'''
She said the health department is working closely with UT and all the colleges and universities in town on measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Hayden noted that the city's free isolation facilities where people with COVID-19 can stay to avoid infecting others will be open to students who primarily live on campus.
City of Austin COVID-19 rulesThe current order in place by city of Austin prohibits gatherings of groups of more than 10 people who do not live in the same household.
While local governments in Texas cannot require mask-wearing outright, Governor Abbott has clarified that local governments are allowed to require businesses to require employees and customers to wear face coverings. Since this clarification from the governor, the city of Austin has implemented a requirement that businesses require employees and customers to wear face coverings in most cases. Violations of this order are a criminal offense in the City of Austin which Austin Police, Austin Code Department, and the office of the Austin Fire Marshal are authorized to enforce. Any individual found to be in violation of the mask requirement will be given a warning on the first offense and a $250 fine for each subsequent violation.1 fine in 1 month: How APD is enforcing the city's mask ordinance
Further orders from Austin's Health Authority mean that those over the age of 10 not wearing masks in public can be subject to a fine of up to $2,000. Additional order from the Health Authority states that sites, including businesses, that don't comply with state and local COVID-19 orders to be declared a ''nuisance'' and face possible civil penalties.
Previous Coverage: Austin crafting rules expected to fine those who don't wear masks up to $2K Many UT Austin community members live off-campus in the City of Austin, so these city rules would apply in places like West Campus.
VIDEO-Hydroxychloroquine Works #HCQworks on Twitter: "Australian politician speaks out about #Hydroxychloroquine scandal New South Wales politician Craig Kelly speaks out about the Hydroxychloroquine scandal including Recovery overdoses Share, share, shar
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 04:24
Hydroxychloroquine Works #HCQworks : Australian politician speaks out about #Hydroxychloroquine scandalNew South Wales politician Craig Kelly speaks o'... https://t.co/lIC7t7TsgN
Tue Aug 25 17:20:04 +0000 2020
Stumac-DirtywiththeCounty : @_JulietJohnson Didn't Clive already have a crack at this?
Wed Aug 26 07:08:02 +0000 2020
almost the clever country 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕 : @_JulietJohnson Best described as a used furniture salesman. Which is exactly what he was.
Wed Aug 26 07:05:47 +0000 2020
Natasha : @_JulietJohnson Yep. Please share this. This is unfortunately not new information. People need to get smart and quick!
Tue Aug 25 20:31:26 +0000 2020
Twittle bit : @_JulietJohnson https://t.co/ArbJRKGvVn
Tue Aug 25 18:02:30 +0000 2020
Hydroxychloroquine Works #HCQworks : Thank you @CraigKellyMP for speaking up on this shocking matter of the severe overdosing of sick hospital inpatient'... https://t.co/uuhfI594qf
Tue Aug 25 17:38:14 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Only Sociopaths Reject the New Normal! - #PropagandaWatch - YouTube
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 04:06
VIDEO-CraigMartin on Twitter: "@Tylerjoelb @adamcurry" / Twitter
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 04:03
CraigMartin : @Tylerjoelb @adamcurry
Thu Aug 27 04:00:38 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Really American 🇺🇸 on Twitter: "We shall be airing this ad exposing Tucker Carlson's blatant hypocrisy in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Retweet if you want us to keep going. https://t.co/HZdfnLCfNU" / Twitter
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 04:02
Really American 🇺🇸 : We shall be airing this ad exposing Tucker Carlson's blatant hypocrisy in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Retweet if you wan'... https://t.co/Xk4te6fBfQ
Thu Aug 27 01:06:29 +0000 2020
VIDEO-FUNNIEST TRUMP CAN'T WIN COMPILATION - YouTube
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 15:19
VIDEO-Gov. Whitmer urging Michiganders to get flu vaccine - YouTube
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 15:07
VIDEO-Germany's struggle with wind power | DW Documentary - YouTube
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 14:55
VIDEO-Build Back...What? - YouTube
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 14:46
VIDEO-JohnWMarxII on Twitter: "''The rioting has to stop... it's showing up in the polling, it's showing up in focus groups.'' Don Lemon https://t.co/xiFsowHbhb" / Twitter
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 14:14
JohnWMarxII : ''The rioting has to stop... it's showing up in the polling, it's showing up in focus groups.'' Don Lemon https://t.co/xiFsowHbhb
Wed Aug 26 12:22:26 +0000 2020
gsteiner16 : @JohnWMarxII https://t.co/lQsbTo805C
Wed Aug 26 14:13:55 +0000 2020
Neutron Star : @JohnWMarxII @DownloaderBot
Wed Aug 26 14:13:44 +0000 2020
Shannon : @JohnWMarxII You couldn't figure that out without a poll?
Wed Aug 26 14:13:39 +0000 2020
Michael : @JohnWMarxII One thing I know is if Joe listens to these fools it won't work
Wed Aug 26 14:13:23 +0000 2020
stacy : @JohnWMarxII What they r not mentioning is that these r DEMOCRATIC run cities! The Mayors and Govs of these cities'... https://t.co/6qb2pnRlK9
Wed Aug 26 14:13:18 +0000 2020
mallen2010 : @JohnWMarxII Too late.The Dems gave their blessing to all of this a long time ago.That's why the gun shops have e'... https://t.co/ALNbzQZzsS
Wed Aug 26 14:13:16 +0000 2020
Codename Dutchess : @JohnWMarxII CNN just giving campaign advice to the Biden camp now
Wed Aug 26 14:12:57 +0000 2020
Mostly Peaceful Arsonist : @JohnWMarxII https://t.co/4usSswdcVU
Wed Aug 26 14:12:53 +0000 2020
SoComplex : @JohnWMarxII Every time a window breaks, another (I)ndependent votes for Trump
Wed Aug 26 14:12:50 +0000 2020
Knight🇺🇸 Patriot : @JohnWMarxII Yuck! 1. It's happening under the Democrat controller, cities and states, 2. People are dying and you'... https://t.co/vVYHQFgEza
Wed Aug 26 14:12:47 +0000 2020
Viator : @JohnWMarxII YASSS Queeen Biden, come on out and condemn them all. LOVE IT! ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚
Wed Aug 26 14:12:41 +0000 2020
JB : @JohnWMarxII No rioting allowed in swing states.
Wed Aug 26 14:12:23 +0000 2020
VIDEO-The OTHER SIDE of Bannon and Kolfage's Fraud Indictment - Viva & Barnes HIGHLIGHT - YouTube
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 14:04
VIDEO-SavannahSavage on Twitter: "Anyone know what Dementia Joe is talking about?🐠#joebiden #SleepyJoe https://t.co/06G9ARtaIn" / Twitter
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 13:46
SavannahSavage : Anyone know what Dementia Joe is talking about?🐠#joebiden #SleepyJoe https://t.co/06G9ARtaIn
Sun Aug 02 04:48:22 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Updated CDC guidelines now say people exposed to coronavirus may not need to be tested - CNN
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 13:11
By Jamie Gumbrecht, Michael Nedelman and Maggie Fox, CNN
Updated 8:58 AM EDT, Wed August 26, 2020
(CNN) In a shift that perplexed some doctors, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines to say some people without symptoms may not need to be tested, even if they've been in close contact with someone known to have the virus.
Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic.Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University who was previously Baltimore's health commissioner, said on CNN's New Day on Wednesday that the testing guideline changes make no sense.
"These are exactly the people who should be tested," Wen said, giving the example of a person exposed at work who wants a test so they can protect their family at home.
Here's what the CDC website said previously: "Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested."
The CDC changed the site on Monday. Here's what it says now: "If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one."
Those who don't have Covid-19 symptoms and haven't been in close contact with someone with a known infection do not need a test, the updated guidelines say.
"Not everyone needs to be tested," the agency's website says. "If you do get tested, you should self-quarantine/isolate at home pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional."
The CDC guidelines say if someone has symptoms and they're mild, a health care provider "may advise a COVID-19 test," and if symptoms are severe, people should contact a health care provider or seek emergency care.
"It is important to realize that you can be infected and spread the virus but feel well and have no symptoms," the updated CDC site says, noting that local public health officials might request asymptomatic "healthy people" be tested, depending on cases and spread in an area.
In its pandemic planning scenarios, the CDC says its current best estimate is that 40% of infections are asymptomatic and 50% of transmission occur before symptoms occur.
The CDC did not explain the change, and doctors were puzzled by it.
"I'm concerned that these recommendations suggest someone who has had substantial exposure to a person with Covid-19 now doesn't need to get tested," Wen said.
"This is key to contact tracing, especially given that up to 50% of all transmission is due to people who do not have symptoms. One wonders why these guidelines were changed -- is it to justify continued deficit of testing?"
A spokesperson at the US Department of Health and Human Services denied the change would affect contact tracing efforts, which most public health officials say is key to any eventual control of the virus. "The updated guidance does not undermine contact tracing or any other types of surveillance testing," the spokesperson said.
HHS said people should consult with their doctors or with local health officials to decide if they need to be tested.
"The guidance fully supports public health surveillance testing, done in a proactive way through federal, state, and local public health officials," the spokesperson said.
VIDEO-Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 on Twitter: ""I thought tonight was a really perfect night." #RNC2020 https://t.co/GU6hsvNnW4" / Twitter
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 05:24
Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 : "I thought tonight was a really perfect night." #RNC2020 https://t.co/GU6hsvNnW4
Wed Aug 26 03:58:42 +0000 2020
VIDEO - The OTHER SIDE of Bannon and Kolfage's Fraud Indictment - Viva & Barnes HIGHLIGHT - YouTube
Wed, 26 Aug 2020 00:53
VIDEO-Donna Brazile TRIGGERED -- Plays Slavery Card, Lashes Out at Tammy Bruce After AMAZING RNC Night 1 - YouTube
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 13:49
VIDEO-OOPS: PBS White House Reporter Spews Three Lies or Errors in a Minute in Anti-Trump Rant | Newsbusters
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 13:37
August 25th, 2020 7:34 AM
Left-wing journalists warned that the Republican convention would be a torrent of lies, but some of them are having truth problems on television. On Monday night, PBS anchor Judy Woodruff only tolerated 84 seconds of Trump-endorsing black Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones (a Democrat) before she broke in. ''We're seeing an aggressive attempt on the part of this party and of President Trump to say, I'm not a racist.'' They couldn't let that sit there without attempting rebuttal.
Woodruff turned to PBS White House reporter Yamiche Alcindor, who uncorked three lies or errors in about a minute (your tax dollars at work!):
ALCINDOR: The Republican party as a whole in 2012 did really long autopsy trying to figure out how to expand their base and diversify. Then came Donald Trump. He did the exact opposite of what the party said he focused on racial division, focused on immigration, called immigrants rapists and criminals.
This is a common mangling of Trump's 2015 announcement, and a soundbite that played on what seemed like an endless loop at the time...which should make it easier to characterize correctly.
TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
You could describe this accurately, and have it still sound negative, but they always have to transform it into sounding extremely racist. But then Alcindor made a more embarrassing error on today's news:
ALCINDOR: Then of course while he's in office President Trump has really beat up on the Black Lives Matter movement. He's called people anarchists, he's called them not good for America. He's really called into question whether or not people should be taking to the streets after we see deaths like Jacob Blake in Wisconsin or George Floyd in Minnesota.
Blake, who was shot six times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is not dead. He's in stable condition in the hospital. Ooooops.
Then Alcindor trafficked in Joe Biden's favorite lie, that Trump said in 2017 the neo-Nazis demonstrating in Charlottesville were fine people:
ALCINDOR: But critics of President Trump say that no matter what people around him say, the president himself has really been the person giving his critics their ammunition. We can think back to his response after Charlottesville, when he said there are are very fine people that go to Nazi rallies, and even now, as we're in the midst of this racial reckoning, he's talking about the idea that he doesn't think that police reform or systemic racism is as widespread as Democrats think it -- be out to seem.
Even PolitiFact explained that reporters pressed Trump into explicitly declaring "I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists -- because they should be condemned totally." He was talking about people who opposed taking down all the Confederate monuments who aren't carrying around Nazi flags.
Let's hope PBS can do better than this on the next three nights.
PS: This was the graphic PBS used in the brief time they allowed Vernon Jones to speak on the taxpayer-funded network. Note they reported the Georgia Democratic Party called him an "embarrassment." Anyone remember John Kasich getting that treatment?
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VIDEO-Nobel Prize Winner Challenges The Myths About Aids - YouTube
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 13:20
VIDEO-RACISTS: CNN Claims Sen. Scott and Amb. Haley Are Tokens for White Party | Newsbusters
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 12:48
The left's identity politics went to disgusting lows during CNN's night one analysis of the Republican National Convention. Both shoddy CNN host Jake Tapper and senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson proved how vile they could be when they accused Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), who's black, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who's an Indian-American woman, of being tokens for a white and racist party.
The racist undertones started immediately after Scott concluded the first night with his inspirational address. With host Wolf Blitzer acknowledging the GOP was being uplifting and trying to expand the base with their selection of speakers, Tapper denounced the showing as being TOO diverse and unrepresentative of the party:
In terms of what the Republicans were accomplishing this evening, what they tried to accomplish, you are right, Wolf, I think they definitely were trying to appeal to the base. Obviously, they were showing a lot of diversity in the people that they had speak this evening.
It's not representative of the Republican party as a whole, certainly not representative of the Republican Party or the Trump administration here in Washington D.C.
Just six minutes later, Henderson was on and ranting about racism. Covering up the fact that radical, Marxist Black Lives Matter protesters had broken into their private community and threatened to burn down their home and kill their dog, Henderson smeared St.Louis couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey as people who represented ''the fear of black and brown people, fear of poor people.''
Henderson then accused Scott and Haley of being racial tokens for the GOP to help white people feel better about voting for the party:
And that ran throughout this entire convention, this idea that the Democrats, who again are a very diverse party, now they have an African-American and an Indian woman in the number two slot. That is the fear that they are conjuring up.
Tim Scott there, I think he's, on the one hand, trying to reach out to black voters, but I think he's also there to give white voters who might be worried about voting for someone like Donald Trump, who has said all sorts of racist comments. It sort of, I think, Tim Scott and Nikki Haley are there to say, ''Listen, maybe Donald Trump isn't as racist as you think he is or as racist as he often sounds because here's Tim Scott praising him, here's Nikki Haley praising him, and there are a number of other African-Americans woven thought tonight.''
It was a repulsive display that got repeated later in the hour when host Anderson Cooper teed Henderson up. ''How much do you think of some of this tonight was sort of giving permission to more moderate white voters that you know what, it's okay for you to vote for Donald Trump despite his rhetoric on his, you know, some of his racist rhetoric over the last three years,'' he wondered.
Henderson was far more blatant with her accusations of tokenism the second time around: ''It's sort of an indirect appeal to white voters when you kind of put black issues, black people, black Republicans front and center, as we saw happen tonight.''
She also echoed Tapper's comments from earlier and tied them in with her own:
Nikki Haley obviously a woman of color and Tim Scott and a couple of other African Americans. I mean, on the whole, the Republican Party actually isn't very diverse. It sort of seemed a little diverse tonight with Tim Scott making that final sort of keynote address and Nikki Haley making a kind of keynote address. But by and large, you know, this is a party that is right now based on sort of white identitarianism'...
This ugly racism was only from night one of the Republican National Convention. Imagine how the rest of the week was going to go.
These disgusting, racist comments were made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Amazon, HomeAdviser, and Qunol. Their contact information is linked so you can tell them about the ugly bigotry they're funding.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CNN's America's Choice 2020: Republican National Convention: Night 1August 25, 202010:53:31 p.m. Eastern
WOLF BLITZER: Very strong speech from Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, making the case it was only a generation or two ago that they went from the cotton fields and now he's a United States senator wrapping up the first night in the Republican national convention.
You know Jake, it was interesting, clearly, almost all of the speakers tried to make sure they secure the Republican base for Donald Trump. They want to broaden the base. They showed a lot of diversity in the course of this. And almost all of the speakers painted Joe Biden potentially leading the United States towards a socialist country that would be a disaster, that would ruin the United States of America. And they tried to show Donald Trump as a man of empathy working to, quote, making America great again.
We heard a lot of that.
('...)
JAKE TAPPER: In terms of what the Republicans were accomplishing this evening, what they tried to accomplish, you are right, Wolf, I think they definitely were trying to appeal to the base. Obviously, they were showing a lot of diversity in the people that they had speak this evening.
It's not representative of the Republican party as a whole. Certainly not representative of the Republican Party or the Trump administration here in Washington D.C.
('...)
11:03:53 p.m. Eastern
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Yeah, we talk about the cultural war here. Obviously, there is a racial component to it. It's not a coincidence that the McCloskey's were aiming their guns at people who were Black Lives Matter protesters. So there is this kind of, I think, in some ways, arguments that are in conflict with each another.
On the one hand, they had Tim Scott on there, you had Donald Trump Jr., I think, at some point denounced racism and said, you know, ''America needs to end the scourge of racism.'' But then you obviously had these other couples there who were talking about this fear that they had. And we know what that fear is about. I mean, this sort of fear of the other, the fear of black and brown people, fear of poor people.
And that ran throughout this entire convention, this idea that the Democrats, who again are very diverse party, now they have an African-American and an Indian woman in the number two slot. That is the fear that they are conjuring up.
Tim Scott there, I think he's on the one hand trying to reach out to black voters, but I think he's also there to give white voters who might be worried about voting for someone like Donald Trump, who has said all sorts of racist comments. It sort of, I think, Tim Scott and Nikki Haley are there to say, ''Listen, maybe Donald Trump isn't as racist as you think he is or as racist as he often sounds because here's Tim Scott praising him, here's Nikki Haley praising him, and there are a number of other African-Americans woven thought tonight.''
We'll see what else comes over these next couple of days. I thought it was kind of a repetitive the way that everyone kind of stood up there and spoke. There were speeches rather than conversations. I thought with viewers. So, in that way it had a kind of flat effect at least as I was viewing it.
('...)
11:43:24 p.m. Eastern
ANDERSON COOPER: How much do you think of some of this tonight was sort of giving permission to more moderate white voters that you know what, it's okay for you to vote for Donald Trump despite his rhetoric on his, you know, some of his racist rhetoric over the last three years?
HENDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I think that is often what it's about. It's sort of an indirect appeal to white voters when you kind of put black issues, black people, black Republicans front and center, as we saw happen tonight.
Nikki Haley obviously a woman of color and Tim Scott and a couple of other African Americans. I mean, on the whole, the Republican Party actually isn't very diverse. It sort of seemed a little diverse tonight with Tim Scott making that final sort of keynote address and Nikki Haley making a kind of keynote address.
But by and large, you know, this is a party that is right now based on sort of white identitarianism, and is really trying to not only -- we sort of talk about white suburban voters and what they need to hear to feel comfortable being a member of this party. But it's also one of the things you see in the polls is that Trump is also starting to lose support among white working-class voters as well. Biden is doing very well among those voters.
So, you see this idea of illegal immigrants taking your jobs. Black people, who you should be afraid of. You don't want to live in the kind of cities where black people are protesting. So, you know, I mean, we've heard this over and over from this President.
I think it's a little disingenuous for Tim Scott to ignore that because it's certainly something that most voters find problematic. Not just offensive at this point but also something that is starting to affect their daily lives. Because it's in some ways become policy now. Right?
('...)
VIDEO-Steve Scalise on Twitter: "🚨 Disgusting: Nancy Pelosi just called Republicans "domestic enemies.'' I was shot because of this kind of unhinged rhetoric. Where's the media outrage? https://t.co/cJZQ3E4dnU" / Twitter
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 11:58
Steve Scalise : 🚨 Disgusting: Nancy Pelosi just called Republicans "domestic enemies.''I was shot because of this kind of unhinged'... https://t.co/3dy6E60Zvq
Mon Aug 24 22:22:37 +0000 2020
Broken Senate : @SteveScalise @FleaBaileyEsq I'd love to stay and chat but I need to get in the breadline or my family won't eat to'... https://t.co/PbrHKGOh8E
Tue Aug 25 11:58:22 +0000 2020
Taurus Balzof : @SteveScalise @scodogno Pelosi has been a domestic enemy to freedom and sanity.
Tue Aug 25 11:58:12 +0000 2020
Frank DeNatale Jr : @SteveScalise She is crazy
Tue Aug 25 11:58:09 +0000 2020
cajunmade 25 : @SteveScalise Hi Nancy! I got ya domestic enemy!
Tue Aug 25 11:58:07 +0000 2020
Rodrigo Navarro : @SteveScalise @carlquintanilla - here is what your promoting. Be real buddy, most of all be objective
Tue Aug 25 11:58:04 +0000 2020
RedTread : @SteveScalise @ScottAdamsSays Some kid took my truck away in preschool. Therefore I support Nancy Pelosi inciting v'... https://t.co/ZybTOP4d5T
Tue Aug 25 11:57:57 +0000 2020
Giulia226 : @SteveScalise @SpeakerPelosi is #unhinged! @POTUS has rattled her cage! https://t.co/tBSvYuHbLt
Tue Aug 25 11:57:52 +0000 2020
Jason Wilcox : @SteveScalise She is a socialist. Socialists are insane, but dangerous. History proves this, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Castro, Mao, etc
Tue Aug 25 11:57:48 +0000 2020
Terry Porter : @SteveScalise Nancy is crazy, she needs to retire, she is a liar, look at her congressional district, she don't giv'... https://t.co/RnJsTi6JLp
Tue Aug 25 11:57:06 +0000 2020
slyde viper : @SteveScalise Their minions rioting in their cities are not patriots fighting for the constitution, they're are soc'... https://t.co/XDMVq7p3G1
Tue Aug 25 11:57:04 +0000 2020
Nell : @SteveScalise @SpeakerPelosi This is unconscionable and vulgar behavior for a speaker of the house putting a target'... https://t.co/8SQtkP8Md2
Tue Aug 25 11:57:01 +0000 2020
carlos diaz : @SteveScalise Any doubts that democrats are nothing but Castro-comunism's "5th column" in the US ??Fidel himself w'... https://t.co/LkdaFMPnJO
Tue Aug 25 11:56:49 +0000 2020
PickleRick : @SteveScalise See isn't wrong.
Tue Aug 25 11:56:46 +0000 2020
Angie Ryding : @SteveScalise Omg I can't stand this darn women she's awful
Tue Aug 25 11:56:40 +0000 2020
1985thoughts : @SteveScalise On defense mode. Put truth in a liars face and you'll get nothing but pushback and tears. Case in point:
Tue Aug 25 11:56:24 +0000 2020
rampart : @SteveScalise @PowerToolsRule Nancy- lets see 47 years worth of your tax returns
Tue Aug 25 11:56:16 +0000 2020
Charles Mochon : @SteveScalise @ThomasGJameson1 Isn't this a treat to more than half of our population? She should be censored and impeached.
Tue Aug 25 11:56:11 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Tom Elliott on Twitter: "In a bid to revitalize the USPS, @aoc proposes a ''national progressive penpal program'' to boost stamp sales. https://t.co/UzTNdz2Moq" / Twitter
Tue, 25 Aug 2020 11:55
Tom Elliott : In a bid to revitalize the USPS, @aoc proposes a ''national progressive penpal program'' to boost stamp sales. https://t.co/UzTNdz2Moq
Mon Aug 17 18:13:31 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Dr Marcus De Brun - Time For Change Protest Dublin - YouTube
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 18:37
VIDEO-Dolores Cahill - Time For Change Protest Dublin - YouTube
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 18:36
VIDEO-BLM Founders Conjure Demons - YouTube
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 18:04
VIDEO-State of Emergency in Victoria to be extended to 18 months by Premier Daniel Andrews | 7NEWS.com.au
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 14:19
Premier Daniel Andrews has moved to extend Victoria's State of Emergency beyond September 13 - for what could effectively be a total period of 18 months.
The State of Emergency provides the Chief Health Officer with additional powers to issue directions to help contain the spread of coronavirus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Under current legislation, a State of Emergency can only remain in operation for six months.
But Andrews said this would be extended for an additional 12 months - for a total of up to 18 months.
''It is not an unlimited extension, it is nothing more than a recognition that this virus won't be over on September 13,'' he told reporters on Monday.
''I would love nothing more for there to be no need for any rules on September 14, but I don't think that is the reality.''
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews arrives at a press conference in Melbourne. Credit: JAMES ROSS / AAPIMAGE The state government, in a statement on Monday, said amendments to the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 would be introduced on September 1, to allow the State of Emergency to be in place for this extended period.
''(The State of Emergency) is the legal instrument that allows rules about facemasks, about COVID safe work plans in workplaces large and small, that is the legal instrument that sits behind density limits in pubs and cafes and restaurants,'' Andrews said.
''So we simply can't have those important roles in the legal framework that sits behind them, we can't have that end on September 13, because this will not have ended by the 13th of next month.
''We will extend the State of Emergency provisions within the Public Health and Wellbeing act for a maximum of a further 12 months.''
Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien told reporters on Monday that he would try to block the extension, saying the ''power has gone to the Premier's head''.
Since March, the State of Emergency has been extended six times.
Victoria has also been in a State of Disaster since August 2, which will remain in place for up to one month.
VIDEO-Donald J. Trump on Twitter: "The greatest Election Fraud in our history is about to happen. This may top the Democrats illegally spying on my campaign! https://t.co/ePfNVJiHw7" / Twitter
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 14:08
Donald J. Trump : The greatest Election Fraud in our history is about to happen. This may top the Democrats illegally spying on my ca'... https://t.co/iUocG5oVGF
Mon Aug 24 01:23:25 +0000 2020
Rick Stahl : @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/KBUVl110uL
Mon Aug 24 14:08:38 +0000 2020
Skylur : @realDonaldTrump 2 statements. 2 lies. We expect nothing less.
Mon Aug 24 14:08:36 +0000 2020
VIDEO-TODAY on Twitter: "Kellyanne Conway announced she will be leaving the White House by the end of the month. Her husband, George Conway, is also making a big announcement as one of their teenage daughters calls to be emancipated from her parents. @Hal
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 11:45
TODAY : Kellyanne Conway announced she will be leaving the White House by the end of the month. Her husband, George Conway,'... https://t.co/PQ0nI88c7m
Mon Aug 24 11:42:29 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Louie [BTC] on Twitter: "@adamcurry @THErealDVORAK https://t.co/WmZPWx74DE" / Twitter
Mon, 24 Aug 2020 11:15
Louie [BTC] : @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK https://t.co/WmZPWx74DE
Mon Aug 24 06:48:47 +0000 2020

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All Clips

CNN Black people at RNC are pretty much tokens.mp3
CNN Nia Malika Henderson second night was Perfect - Malania.mp3
Gavin Newsome caller about former wife Kimberly Gylfoil.mp3
Lemon and Cuomo - RORSHACK The rioting has to stop it’s showing up in the polling it’s showing up in focus groups.mp3
M5M Dark Supercut.mp3
Nancy Pelosi - Republicans domestic enemies.mp3
ReallyAmerican = Act Blue - Anti Tucker Ad.mp3
Yamiche with Judy not so objective and upgraded fine people lie TRUTH COMES OUT.mp3
Biden says his campaign strategy is to avoid voters.m4a
KCBS radio's Bob Butler explains Black Bloc.mp3
Jonathan Pie rant on Build Back Better.mp3
Newsome - 130 degrees is why power blackouts GREEN NEW DILL.mp3
Germany's struggle with wind power - DW Documentary.mp3
Covid flu south One NPR.mp3
Covid flu south TWO NPR.mp3
COVID gloom DN.mp3
COVID world report thematic DN.mp3
CSPAN call in frightened woman.mp3
Hillary on not conceeding.mp3
how NPR saw day two RNC NPR.mp3
Idaho assembly invaded story.mp3
less drama ISO.mp3
morgue ISO.mp3
National Parks breaking records.mp3
Neon Revolt on Qanon.mp3
new Dutch podcast on slavery NPR.mp3
NPR Native ad partial.mp3
Paul Begalaa on RNC NPR.mp3
recent lost Biden gaffe.mp3
Report on Keosha shootings NPR.mp3
Republic invite odd speakers.mp3
substance abuse 1.mp3
substance abuse 2 voice.mp3
substance abuse 3.mp3
substance abuse 4.mp3
um report on Kenosha NPR.mp3
WTF amy and republican platform DN.mp3
WTF Pence quote NPR.mp3
Amys version on Hatch act violatrion DN.mp3
Conway fiasco DN.mp3
How Robots Are Helping to Enforce Mask Orders.mp3
March 6 2020 Fauci Say NO MASKS on 60 minutes.mp3
Newsome - Caller on CDC test changes.mp3
Updated CDC guidelines -1- now say people exposed to coronavirus may not need to be tested CNN Doc Elizabeth Cohen.mp3
Updated CDC guidelines -2- CNN Doc Elizabeth Cohen Doubles down.mp3
Austin’s top doctor Escott sends letter to sororities fraternities following photos of gatherings.mp3
Dolores Cahill - Time For Change Protest Dublin.mp3
Barnes law pushback on Bannon indictment BACKS up WHAT I SAID.mp3
Kentucky Fried Chicken forced by Covid to change slogan.m4a
IRobot Roomba to spy on you for Amazon OTG!.m4a
AOC save USPS with STAMPS.mp3
Colorado local news on USPS consiracies and Q-Anon LOL.mp3
Gov. Whitmer urging Michiganders to get flu vaccine.mp3
New South Wales politician Craig Kelly speaks out about the Hydroxychloroquine scandal including Recovery overdoses.mp3
Dr Harvey Rich - Editor IJoCR - Hydroxy works but media supresses.mp3
  • 0:00
    this is a radio guy a radio guy playing
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    vice president
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    adam curry john c devorah it's thursday
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    august 27
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    2020 this is your award-winning get my
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    nation media assassination episode 1272.
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    this
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    is no agenda going dark
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    and broadcasting live from opportunity
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    zone 33 here in the frontier of austin
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    texas capital of the drone star state
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    in the morning everybody i'm adam curry
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    and from northern silicon valley
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    where i'm worried sick that hurricane
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    laura is going to knock you
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    out i'm john c divora
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    [Music]