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Today’s News: April 02, 2020

World News

Brits Warned to Keep Flashlight Handy in Case of Coronavirus Power-Out

Breitbart – UK Power Networks has told customers to store flashlights and warm clothes nearby in case there is a power outage during the coronavirus pandemic.

The electricity distribution operator, which manages networks for 8.3 million homes and businesses in London and in the East and South East of England, advised customers in an email on Tuesday on how to stay safe during a powercut.

Philippines: President Duterte gives “shoot to kill” order amid pandemic response

Amnesty.org – Responding to orders from President Duterte to police, military officials and barangay officials to shoot ‘troublemakers’ protesting during community quarantine, Amnesty Philippine Section Director, Butch Olano, said:

“It is deeply alarming that President Duterte has extended a ‘shoot to kill’ policy to law enforcement agencies. Deadly, unchecked force should never be used in an emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The abusive methods used to punish those accused of breaching quarantine and the vast number of mass arrests that have been carried out to date, against mainly poor people, are further examples of the oppressive approach the government takes against those struggling with basic needs.

“The violent police response to calls for help is heartless and unjustifiable, especially while millions of Filipinos are prevented from earning a living. “

-Butch Olano

“This includes the violent police dispersal of residents of San Roque, Quezon City who were protesting the lack of relief support from the local government. The violent police response to calls for help is heartless and unjustifiable, especially while millions of Filipinos are prevented from earning a living.

“We call on the President to immediately cease his dangerous incitement to violence against those critical of the government during the COVID-19 pandemic. The local government must initiate a dialogue with residents and deliver much-needed relief especially to the poorest communities.

“We also urge the concerned agencies to investigate members of the police that resorted to disproportionate violence, release San Roque residents under arrest and conduct a probe into the broader incident. The lives of those most at risk must be considered a priority, in the effort to minimize the threat of the virus.

Shenzhen becomes first Chinese city to ban eating cats and dogs…

BBC – Shenzhen has become the first Chinese city to ban the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat.

It comes after the coronavirus outbreak was linked to wildlife meat, prompting Chinese authorities to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals.

Shenzhen went a step further, extending the ban to dogs and cats. The new law will come into force on 1 May.

Thirty million dogs a year are killed across Asia for meat, says Humane Society International (HSI).

However, the practice of eating dog meat in China is not that common – the majority of Chinese people have never done so and say they don’t want to.

“Dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals, and banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan,” the Shenzhen city government said, according to a Reuters report.

“This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.”

Finland Told Its Welfare State Can’t Cope With Virus Fallout.

Bloomberg – One of the world’s best-funded welfare states is starting to crack as the fallout of the coronavirus triggers mass unemployment.

Finland’s system of jobless benefits can’t cope with the sudden surge in demand, the country’s biggest unemployment fund, YTK, said.

There are more than 300,000 Finns who suddenly find themselves without work, either through temporary layoffs or outright job cuts. A large chunk of them may have to wait until next year to get their first benefit payment, YTK said.

Money’s not the problem, Managing Director Sanna Alamaki said in letters to members sent through April 1. It’s “that the benefit applications can’t be processed and, consequently, money can’t be paid out quickly enough,” she said.

YTK is expecting “a flood” of more than 100,000 applications through April. That’s double the number it would process during an average year. Even if it triples staff, people would still face a three-month wait for their jobless benefit, YTK said. That exceeds the legal limit of 30 days.

US military moves air defense systems into Iraq following attacks on American troops

Fox – The U.S. military said Thursday air defense systems are “moving” into Iraq following attacks on American and coalition forces in recent weeks.

The weapons include Patriot surface-to-air missiles and a variant of the Navy’s SeaRam and CIWIS (“sea wiz”) which fires 3,000 rounds a minute, a defense official with knowledge of the order tells Fox News.

For operational security, the U.S. military is not disclosing which bases are getting reinforced.

Two Americans and a British Army medic were killed in a rocket attack outside Baghdad last month leading to U.S. airstrikes destroying five weapons depots used by the Iranian-backed militia blamed for the attack.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Million Masks Coming From China — on PATRIOTS Jet

WSJ – At 3:38 a.m. Wednesday morning, the New England Patriots’ team plane departed from an unusual locale: Shenzhen, China. On board the Boeing 767, in the cargo hold that used to be home to Tom Brady’s duffel bags, were 1.2 million N95 masks bound for the U.S.

Three unmistakable signs that WAR is coming to America: Pompeo orders all American citizens to “immediately” return to the USA

NaturalNews – By now, you know that I was more than a month ahead of virtually all media — independent and mainstream — in warning about the coming coronavirus pandemic. When I first released projections of 10,000 deaths in America by May 10th, nearly everyone thought the idea was insane (probably including you). As it turns out, we are likely to have over 100,000 deaths by May 10th, according to what the White House is now saying.

This is worth mentioning because today we have a new warning about where things are headed. There have been three unmistakable signs that war is coming to the United States very soon. Those signs have all emerged in the past week, all with a sense of urgency that goes far beyond any concern about a pandemic:

Sign #1) President Trump activating one million military reservists with medical skills to treat battlefield injuries. Details of this order are found in the EO text at WhiteHouse.gov.

Sign #2) The Pentagon ordering high-level staffers into deep underground bunkers in Colorado. This was announced by NORAD and NORTHCOM in a Facebook town hall meeting. Obviously, you don’t order military staffers into a 2,000-foot deep bunker just because of a virus.

Sign #3) Secretary of State Pompeo just ordered all Americans living overseas to return to the US “immediately.” The cover story for this is that the coronavirus is collapsing international flights. But that alone would not justify all Americans returning from living overseas, since many Americans would just hunker down where they’re living. But Pompeo wants all Americans to return immediately, which is the kind of thing you do before a war breaks out (with China, most likely). Via The UK Independent:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Americans abroad who still wish to return to the United States to do so “immediately,” saying commercial and government-chartered flights could soon cease amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Donald Trump’s top diplomat urged any Americans abroad who want to get back to US soil to contact the American embassy in the country where they currently are to begin

Nearly HALF of 70 University of Texas students who went to Mexico on spring break now test positive for the coronavirus

NaturalNews – If watching the spread of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) has got you thinking that maybe this virus has actually been around a lot longer than the Chinese government is admitting, you may be on to something.

Case in point: Nearly half of 70 University of Texas students from the main campus in Austin have tested positive for the virus since returning from a spring break vacation in Mexico, which has yet to become a declared ‘hotspot’ for the disease.

According to local NBC affiliate KXAN, as of this writing, 28 of 70 students have tested positive for COVID-19:

Austin Public Health is investigating a large group of people with a cluster of positive COVID-19 cases returning from a Spring Break trip to Mexico, the agency said Tuesday.

Agency officials said that about 10 days beforehand, the group consisting of about 70 adults in their early 20s left for a trip to Cabo San Lucas south of the border. And while 28 of the group have tested positive for COVID-19, health officials are currently testing the rest of them to see who else might be infected.

“The virus often hides in the healthy and is given to those who are at grave risk of being hospitalized and dying,” said interim APH Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott to the NBC affiliate’s news team.

“While younger people have less risk for complications, they are not immune from severe illness and death from COVID-19,” he added.

All 28 of those who have tested positive so far are self-isolating, health officials told the news team. At the same time, others who took the Cabo trip are currently in quarantine and are being monitored for signs of the illness.

Residents in Texas city face $1,000 fine for uncovered mouth, nose

The Hill – Under a motion passed by the city council in Laredo, Texas, earlier this week, residents in the town can now face a fine of up to $1,000 for not wearing some form of covering on their nose and mouth in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the Laredo Morning Times, council members passed the motion in a vote earlier this week. As part of the measure, all residents over the age of 5 are required to have their nose and mouth covered when entering public buildings, using public transportation and when pumping gas, the body said in a notice detailing the motion, which went into effect Thursday.

“This does not apply when a person is: engaging in a permissible outside physical activity; that are riding in a personal vehicle; that are in alone in a separate single space; that are with their own shelter group (household members); when doing so poses a greater health, safety or security risk; or for consumption purposes,” the notice also states.

Starting Thursday, residents will also be required to adhere to a daily curfew or possibly face a fine or jail time.

Under the curfew, which lasts from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., residents “will be required to stay in their homes during this time and may only leave for essential trips and necessities.”

“Those who must work during those hours will be exempt from this ordinance, but must show proof such as an I.D. or a letter from their employer. Laredo Police Officers will be enforcing this ordinance and may use their discretion,” the notice continues.

Those who violate the order could face a fine of up to $1,000 or “confinement in jail for a period not exceeding 180 days,” the notice adds.

Baltimore moves ahead on use of surveillance planes to patrol city streets

Baltimore Sun – The planes, their pilots, analysts and hanger space will be funded by wealthy Texas philanthropists Laura and John Arnold through their organization, Arnold Ventures. The technology is capable of capturing images of 32 square miles of the city for a minimum of 40 hours a week.

Under the deal, the Arnolds also will pay for grants to enable independent researchers to study whether the program has an impact on Baltimore’s violent crime rate. The city has suffered more than 300 homicides annually for the last five years.

Civil liberties advocates were sharply critical of the plan during the board meeting, which was conducted via conference call due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

David Rocah, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, said it was “absurd” for the board to consider the plan, which includes the most far-reaching surveillance technology in the country, during the viral outbreak. Baltimore, like the rest of Maryland, has been under a stay-at-home order since Monday in response to the virus.

Diamond Princess ship ‘lifting its quarantine’ after disinfection process following COVID-19 outbreak

Fox – The Diamond Princess ship will be able to set sail again — when cruise travel resumes, that is — roughly two months after experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak onboard, Princess Cruises announced.

The ship, where more than 690 passengers and crew were infected with coronavirus — and of which seven people died — underwent an extensive cleaning and disinfection process, including the replacement of all mattresses and linens, Princess Cruises wrote on Twitter this week.

“We’re happy to share the news that #DiamondPrincess finished its thorough cleaning and disinfection.”

Economy & Business

After walkouts, Amazon pledges temperature checks and masks in all warehouses

Whole Foods workers will also receive the protections

The Verge- Amazon has pledged new health protections for its workers in fulfillment centers in the US and Europe, as first reported by Reuters. Under the new system, workers will receive a no-contact temperature check on arrival, and anyone who tests over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) will be sent home. Workers will also receive surgical masks for use while on the premises. The protections are planned to be in place by next week.

The Verge can confirm that warehouse workers from at least two sites have been informed of the new protections, some as early as Tuesday.

Amazon also plans to monitor on-site video feeds using software algorithms to ensure workers are appropriately distanced in the workplace, addressing previous concerns about overcrowding.

McCarthy: We Can’t Allow China to Control Supply Chain ‘in Any Industry’

Breitbart – On Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Ingraham Angle,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stated that after the coronavirus epidemic subsides, we cannot allow China “to control a supply chain in any industry.”

McCarthy said, “We are Americans. The ingenuity, the intensity, the inspiration, we will get through this, and we will get back to normal. We’ve been through World War II. But what we will not get back to is allowing China to control a supply chain in any industry. That’s what we cannot allow to happen again, something that President Trump has warned us about, who has fought against it. And I think that is an eye-opening.”

Mike Pence Thanks Truckers and Workers at Walmart Distribution Center for Helping Fight Coronavirus Crisis

Breitbart – Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday thanked food supply workers and truck drivers for keeping America running during the coronavirus crisis. He delivered his thanks personally during a visit to a massive Walmart distribution warehouse center in Gordonsville, Virginia.

During the stop, he spoke for several minutes with Earnest Allen, a delivery truck driver for Walmart Transportation, who continue to ship products and food despite the pandemic.

World stocks drift as wary investors expect grim U.S. jobs data

Reuters – World equity markets hovered between small gains and losses Thursday, as the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued to rise and economic pain deepened with another record week of jobless claims in the United States.

Trump says expects Russia-Saudi oil deal soon, invites U.S. oil chiefs to White House

Reuetes – U.S. President Donald Trump said he has invited U.S. oil executives to the White House to discuss ways to help the industry “ravaged” by slumping energy demand during the coronavirus outbreak and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Health

Protective gear in national stockpile is nearly depleted, DHS officials say

Washington Post –  The government’s emergency stockpile of respirator masks, gloves and other medical supplies is running low and is nearly exhausted due to the coronavirus outbreak, leaving the Trump administration and the states to compete for personal protective equipment in a freewheeling global marketplace rife with profiteering and price-gouging, according to Department of Homeland Security officials involved in the frantic acquisition effort.

As coronavirus hot spots flare from coast to coast, the demand for safety equipment — also known as personal protective equipment (PPE) — is both immediate and widespread, with health officials, hospital executives and governors saying that their shortages are critical and that health-care workers are putting their lives at risk while trying to help the surging number of patients.

Two DHS officials said the stores kept in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Strategic National Stockpile are nearly gone

New Oxford Study Hidden By Mainstream Media: Millions Already Infected, Recovered, & Immune

SHFTPlan – A new Oxford study said that millions of people in the United Kingdom (and therefore, in other countries) have likely already gotten the coronavirus, recovered from it, and are immune. But the mainstream media doesn’t want this information to get out, and some went to work quickly telling people “not to believe it.”

A newer model, which predicts the progression of the novel coronavirus, set off governments’ reactions around the globe and has systematically ruined lives across the Western world (not because of the virus, but the reaction to it).  pandemic produced by researchers at Imperial College London set off alarms across the world and was a major factor in several governments’ decisions to lock things down. But a new model from Oxford University is challenging its accuracy, the Financial Times reports.

The head of the study, professor Sunetra Gupta, an Oxford theoretical epidemiologist, said she still supports the U.K.’s decision to shut down the country to suppress the virus even if her research winds up being proven correct. But she also doesn’t appear to be a big fan of the work done by the Imperial College team. “I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,” she said.

The acceptance of the original model was to ensure people would be quickly living a life in fear and one without a source of income to combat the totalitarian measures that have already been implemented and are still coming our way. Some media outlets say this newer model relies on assumptions so we should disregard it, yet the original model that has forced lockdown and an economic crash is relying on the same thing. Assuming no one has had the infection, and forcing everyone into a frenzied panic to prevent it.

If Gupta’s work is accurate, that would likely mean a large swath of the population has already built up immunity to the virus and locking them down is pointless. Theoretically, then, social restrictions could ease sooner than anticipated. What needs to be done now, Gupta said according to the Financial Times, is a whole lot of antibody testing to figure out who may have contracted the virus. Her research team is working with groups from the University of Cambridge and the University of Kent to start those tests for the general population as quickly as possible.

The worst part about this model is not the study itself, but the desperate attempts to hide it, or render it invalid to ensure the public remains in a state of fear.