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Today’s News: August 10, 2020

World News

Europe’s Top Health Officials Say Masks Aren’t Helpful in Beating COVID-19

The top medical experts in the world can’t decide if masks are helpful in reducing the spread of COVID-19 or just make things worse.

Foundation for Economic Freedom – Denmark boasts one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the world. As of August 4, the Danes have suffered 616 COVID-19 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

That’s less than one-third of the number of Danes who die from pneumonia or influenza in a given year.

Despite this success, Danish leaders recently found themselves on the defensive. The reason is that Danes aren’t wearing face masks, and local authorities for the most part aren’t even recommending them.

This prompted Berlingske, the country’s oldest newspaper, to complain that Danes had positioned themselves “to the right of Trump.”

“The whole world is wearing face masks, even Donald Trump,” Berlingske pointed out.

This apparently did not sit well with Danish health officials. They responded by noting there is little conclusive evidence that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of respiratory viruses.

“All these countries recommending face masks haven’t made their decisions based on new studies,” said Henning Bundgaard, chief physician at Denmark’s Rigshospitale, according to Bloomberg News. (Denmark has since updated its guidelines to encourage, but not require, the use of masks on public transit where social distancing may not be possible.)  

Denmark is not alone.

Despite a global stampede of mask-wearing, data show that 80-90 percent of people in Finland and Holland say they “never” wear masks when they go out, a sharp contrast to the 80-90 percent of people in Spain and Italy who say they “always” wear masks when they go out.

Dutch public health officials recently explained why they’re not recommending masks.

“From a medical point of view, there is no evidence of a medical effect of wearing face masks, so we decided not to impose a national obligation,” said Medical Care Minister Tamara van Ark.

Others, echoing statements similar to the US Surgeon General from early March, said masks could make individuals sicker and exacerbate the spread of the virus.

“Face masks in public places are not necessary, based on all the current evidence,” said Coen Berends, spokesman for the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. “There is no benefit and there may even be negative impact.”

In Sweden, where COVID-19 deaths have slowed to a crawl, public health officials say they see “no point” in requiring individuals to wear masks.

“With numbers diminishing very quickly in Sweden, we see no point in wearing a face mask in Sweden, not even on public transport,” said Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s top infectious disease expert

Lebanese PM to announce resignation of government ‘soon’ amid widespread protests – minister

RT – The “whole government” of Lebanon will resign shortly amid growing public anger and protests following the devastating explosion in Beirut port, Health Minister Hamad Hassan told reporters.

He told the press that Prime Minister Hassan Diab would make his way to the presidential palace to “hand over the resignation in the name of all the ministers.”

Hassan broke the news to journalists following a cabinet meeting in Beirut. The government’s resignation will happen ‘soon’, Reuters reported, citing the minister.

Diab is set to address the public on Monday evening. 

Massive protests erupted in the days following last week’s devastating explosion, with tens of thousands of citizens taking to the streets to demand the government’s resignation.

Demonstrators blamed the government after it emerged that a stash of the massively explosive chemical ammonium nitrate had been stored in the port for years in unsafe conditions.

Lebanon’s environment, information and justice ministers have already tendered their resignations amid the ongoing protests.

A group of customs and port officials were arrested in the aftermath of the blast and Diab promised on Saturday to call early parliamentary elections. However, neither measure calmed protesters, who stuck to their calls for a wholesale resignation of the government.

They gathered in Beirut for the second night in a row on Sunday, with crowds of masked demonstrators hurling stones at police near government buildings and managing to rip down some security barricades.

Saudi Arabia Turns Off America’s Oil Taps Again

Bloomberg – For the second time in three years, Saudi Arabia is slashing the volume of crude it’s sending to America in an attempt to force down stockpiles in the world’s most visible oil market and thereby hasten the rebalancing of supply and demand.

Weekly U.S. oil inventory data — usually published on a Wednesday and covering the period up to the previous Friday — is routinely pored over by oil analysts and traders alike. Despite their shortcomings, the figures give the most up-to-date picture of changes in the oil balance and influence trading decisions and crude prices around the world.

Shifts in the flow of crude into and out of American ports can have a big impact on the level of U.S. inventories. Riyadh has clearly decided it’s time to do its bit to bring them down from heights reached in May and June, when the coronavirus pandemic and the kingdom’s own output hike combined to drive the fastest ever surge in U.S. commercial crude stockpiles. In the five weeks between March 20 and April 24, the inventories increased at a rate of 2.1 million barrels a day and by the first week of June it was hitting new highs.

Excess stockpiles act as a drag on oil prices and the most visible stockpiles are in the U.S. because the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration reports levels weekly. That’s in stark contrast to other places around the world where the data are much less timely, if they are published at all. China, for example, stopped divulging official data on inventory levels in 2017.

Seven dead as floods hit Greek island

AFP – A baby was among seven people who died as torrential rains and floods swept the Greek island of Evia, damaging dozens of houses and blocking roads, authorities said Sunday.

The eight-month-old baby was found dead in a house in the village of Politika on Sunday, said a spokesman for firefighters involved in rescue efforts. The baby’s parents were unharmed.

Hours earlier, a man and woman in their 80s were found unconscious by firefighters in two houses in the same village, the spokesman said. They were confirmed as dead at the hospital.

Two other people who died, a 74-year-old man and a 73-year-old woman, were from the village of Bourtsi, the ANA news agency reported.

The five dead were among an earlier official toll, which also listed one person as missing, following torrential rains late Saturday and early Sunday.

In a new toll, firefighters said seven people had died — but gave no immediate details of who they were — and that one person remained missing.

One woman was found after being reported missing.

The ANA news agency said a helicopter had spotted the missing woman, who had been swept away by the floodwaters from her home in Bourtsi.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis voiced his “profound pain for the loss of lives” and said he would visit Evia, Greece’s second largest island after Crete, on Monday.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Cabot Phillips: ‘Cancel culture’ distorts history to portray US as evil nation that must be transformed

The repercussions of this massacre of our nation’s history are real and significant ​

Fox – This has been the year of “cancel culture,” with celebrities, politicians, and anyone who’s ever held an opinion that is mildly divergent from the politically correct left coming under attack.

Amidst all the public apologies, disavowals, and firings that this political correctness crusade has wrought, the biggest victim of all has been American history. And now the assault is poised to get worse.

A concerted effort to revise history to fit the modern social justice narrative and insert works of fiction in our education system — from kindergarten through higher education — is well underway.

The 1619 Project, which describes itself as “an ongoing initiative of The New York Times Magazine,” is the clearest evidence that this indoctrination has become institutionalized in the American education system — but certainly not the only evidence.

Despite being labeled “so wrong in so many ways” by a group of Pulitzer Prize-winning historians, the 1619 Project is set to hit K-12 classrooms this fall. Soon, 6-year-olds will be learning a reframed version of America’s founding, shaped to fit today’s standards and train the next generation of social justice warriors.

According to the project’s makeover of U.S. history, 1619 — not 1776, when American colonists declared independence from Britain — is actually “our nation’s birth year.” That’s because 1619 was the year the first enslaved Africans arrived in the colonies.

“Their arrival inaugurated a barbaric system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years,” said an article in the New York Times Magazine published in December 2019. “This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the country’s very origin.”

The magazine goes on to state: “Out of slavery — and the anti-black racism it required — grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional: its economic might, its industrial power, its electoral system, its diet and popular music, the inequities of its public health and education, its astonishing penchant for violence, its income inequality, the example it sets for the world as a land of freedom and equality, its slang, its legal system and the endemic racial fears and hatreds that continue to plague it to this day. The seeds of all that were planted long before our official birth date, in 1776, when the men known as our founders formally declared independence from Britain.”

In other words, the Founding Fathers were a bunch of evil white supremacists and the most important thing they did was to institute and perpetuate slavery. Obviously, slavery was horrific and wrong. But it shouldn’t erase all the accomplishments of America’s founders and the good things about our nation — like our Constitution, representative democracy, Bill of Rights guaranteeing our freedoms, economic prosperity and so much more.

The pace at which our educational system has removed or revised history has been staggering. On many college campuses, American history courses have been replaced with mandatory “white privilege” courses or “diversity and The history courses that are taught often seek to indoctrinate students with the idea that America’s lasting legacy is one of genocide and oppression, not freedom and liberty for all.

History courses have been politicized with the clear objective of convincing the next generation that their nation is not one to be proud of, but a place they should be ashamed of.

This narrative of an evil America lays the foundation for the embrace of far-left ideology that would upend our entire social and economic order with endless protests and other actions — even violent ones— to transform our “evil” country into an imagined utopian society.

The repercussions of this massacre of our nation’s history are real and significant — look no further than the images of young Americans tearing down statues and destroying vehicles of “oppression” like businesses that support capitalism and courthouses that carry out justice.inclusion workshops.”

Third of Americans would say ‘no’ to COVID vaccine – even if it was free

Dr. Fauci said Friday a vaccine may only be 50% effective

Fox – More than a third of Americans say they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine right now, even if it were free and FDA-approved, according to a new Gallup poll.

Political party affiliation is the biggest difference-maker as 81% of Democrats said they would get a vaccine, while less than half of Republicans, 47%, said they would get the vaccine.

White Americans are more likely than non-White Americans to say they would get a vaccine if it was available, 67% to 59%. That’s despite the fact that “some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” as the CDC puts it.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government poured $10 billion into “Operation Warp Speed,” which aims to deliver 300 million doses of a vaccine to Americans by January 2021.

Since then, the government has provided funding to several different companies to develop vaccines, including $1.6 billion to Novavax, $1.95 billion to Pfizer, $1 billion to Johnson & Johnson, and $1.2 billion to AstraZenca.

Moderna announced on July 27 that it was entering a phase 3 clinical trial of its vaccine, which will enroll about 30,000 adult volunteers. Pfizer also recently announced that it was entering phase 3 with its vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned Friday during a conversation at the Brown University School of Public Health that a vaccine isn’t a cure-all.

“We don’t know yet what the efficacy might be. We don’t know if it will be 50% or 60%. I’d like it to be 75% or more,” Fauci said Friday. “But the chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach.”

President Trump said Thursday he is “optimistic” that a vaccine will be approved for distribution before Election Day on Nov. 3, according to the Associated Press.

Widespread looting breaks out in Chicago

The HIll – Widespread looting and vandalism were reported by law enforcement across Chicago early Monday morning, according to local reports. 

The looting reportedly began shortly after midnight as people reportedly broke store windows and swept through stores on the city’s “Magnificent Mile” along Michigan Avenue while confronting officers, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Officers reported that nearly five hours into the widespread vandalism, at around 4:30 a.m., several people were stopped on Lake Street near Michigan Avenue when shots were fired from a passing car, police spokesman Tom Ahern told the Tribune.

Ahern tweeted about a police-involved shooting near Michigan and Lake around 6 a.m. He said shots were fired at police, who returned fire and said no officers were injured. He said it is “unknown at this time if offenders were shot.”

Ahern told the Tribune other officers were injured through the night. 

Police said they were not sure what had sparked the vandalism and looting. The events happened hours after a police shooting in the city’s Englewood neighborhood, according to a WGN report.

Chicago Raises Bridges to Prevent Looters Getting Downtown

Too little too late?

Infowars – Chicago authorities took the decision to raise all major bridges in an effort to prevent looters reaching the downtown area after a night of chaos.

Luxury department stores were ransacked as hundreds of looters caused mayhem in response to the police shooting of an armed suspect in Englewood.

Live stream footage showed one looter proclaiming “I can’t breathe,” a reference to the death of George Floyd, as she complained about being unable to remove security tags while trying to steal expensive items.

Police sent to respond to the looting were physically attacked, prompting authorities to raise major bridges in order to keep more people out of the area.

“All bridges are being raised along the river throughout The Loop,” reports CBS Chicago. “Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management announced street closures throughout areas in the Magnificent Mile, Gold Coast and South Loop.”

Numerous bus and train services have also been suspended, while large areas of downtown Chicago are also closed.

Bridges were previously raised last month in an effort to keep Black Lives Matter protesters away from the business district, but the call to do so this time around appears to have come too late.

Alabama cheerleaders face backlash after posing with a T-shirt bearing Confederate flag, ‘I love Redneck Boys’ quote

‘These girls need to face consequences for their actions,’ a former cheerleader said.

Fox – A high school in Alabama is facing backlash after several of their cheerleaders posted a photo of themselves posing with a t-shirt bearing the Confederate flag inside of a heart on it with the words “I love Redneck Boys.”

Reagan Colemann, one of two Black cheerleaders on the team, quit after seeing the photo and is condemning Daphane High School administrators for not punishing the girls’ actions, over a month after the incident took place.

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Colemann’s mother, Latitah, told Fox News Thursday that her daughter showed her the photo on July 4 before it was removed from social media after garnering a slew of negative comments for its depiction of a symbol with racist undertones.

“The first thing I thought was how bold of them,” Latitah told Fox News. “You cheer for Black football players, you cheer for Black basketball players and you cheer with two Black cheerleaders on your side and this is what you put up.”

Latitah and her daughter say the school has taken no actions to remove the girls from the team and have yet to announce any disciplinary actions against them.

Her daughter posted on social media, saying, “As 1/2 black girls on the cheer team, I knew I needed to speak up about this matter and Daphne’s negligence.”

“I have since quit the team due to their carelessness and inactivity. Daphne’s Administration team has failed to release any statements or contact anyone back concerning this matter,” Reagan Colemann wrote.

“Daphne is very known for keeping things like this hidden and swept under the rug. I don’t want this to be another one of Daphne’s well kept secrets. Something has to be done, and these girls need to face consequences for their actions.”

Latitah said beyond acknowledging that “the T-shirt is mean,” people have defended the photo as the act of “harmless teenagers.”

“We are fighting to get that flag removed off of state flag poles. So, no, that’s not meaningless,” Latitah said. “To you, it may be, but not to us. And if they had been in U.S. history class for all these years that they’ve been in school then they would know that.

“To me they didn’t care anything about the people that they were cheering for or the girls that they were cheering next to. They did what they wanted to do because guess what Daphne always hides the bad stuff,” she continued.

In a statement, Baldwin County Public Schools said, “We are aware of the situation and it has been handled at the local school level. As with any student issue, federal law prohibits us from discussing disciplinary actions, if any, involving our students.”

“Our system has implemented sensitivity programs and Superintendent Tyler has stressed that we have a zero-tolerance for racism and bullying in our system.”

Baltimore gas explosion levels homes; at least 1 woman killed, rescues underway

Fox – Baltimore firefighters were searching Monday through the rubble for victims of a gas explosion that destroyed three rowhouses, killed a woman and seriously injured two other people.

The blast unfolded shortly before 10 a.m. in a residential neighborhood in the northeast part of the city. The union that represents the city’s firefighters reported that rescuers were in contact with one person trapped in the wreckage.

One destroyed home belonged to an 88-year-old U.S. Army veteran, the Baltimore Sun reported. That veteran, Major Watkins, Jr., said the explosion “sounded like Korea.”

California’s public health director resigns amid coronavirus test data glitch

Fox – The director of California’s Department of Public Health announced her surprise resignation on Sunday after the state surpassed 550,000 coronavirus cases.Dr. Sonia Angell’s departure comes amid news that technical issues caused California’s coronavirus cases to be undercounted.

Angell did not give her reason for stepping down in her resignation letter.

“As the first Latina in this role, I am very proud to have served this Department, Administration and our State, alongside all of you,” Angell wrote in a letter shared by the Department of Public Health. “Through Secretary [Mark] Ghaly and our Department’s Chief Deputy Directors, Susan Fanelli and Brandon Nunes, plans are in a place for a smooth leadership transition.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, appointed Angell to the role in 2019.

“I want to thank Dr. Angell for her service to the state and her work to help steer our public health system during this global pandemic, while never losing sight of the importance of health equity,” Newsom said in a statement.

Barr accuses media of ‘projecting a narrative’ in coverage of unrest: ‘People are being told a lie’

‘Anyone with eyes can see what’s happening,’ Barr says

Fox – Attorney General Bill Barr accused the media of pushing their own “narrative” instead of reporting facts on the ground when it comes to coverage of civil unrest in cities across the country following George Floyd’s death.

In an interview with Mark Levin on Fox News’ “Life, Liberty & Levin,” Barr lamented that while people are “rushing the police” and “throwing rocks,” the media reports on “peaceful demonstrators” instead.

“They are projecting a narrative. When the word ‘narrative’ came into currency I knew we were in trouble, because the word narrative suggests that there’s no objective truth,” Barr said. “There’s no real story of what happened, it’s just everyone has their own narrative. And you get to where the press can justify presenting a story that doesn’t really correspond to objective truth but ‘it’s our narrative, we have a narrative you have a narrative.’”

Barr went on to say that he was “appalled” by coverage of the violence because “it’s happening right out in the streets,” in public view.

“Anyone with eyes can see what’s happening. They see the violence, they see these groups of agitators in their black outfits, and their helmets, and their shields, which incidentally have the – have the hammer and sickle on them most of the time, rushing the police, causing violence, throwing rocks, people showing up with the rocks and frozen bottles,” Barr said. “That’s happening. It’s happening in front of people.”

Students suspended for posting pictures of packed halls — now high school is closing after 9 people infected.

Market Watch – Last week, pictures of maskless students crowding the hall of Georgia’s freshly reopened North Paulding High School went viral and raised questions all over the internet as to whether getting kids back to school while coronavirus cases are still on the rise is a good idea.

Two students involved with posting the images were suspended, including Hannah Watters, who said: “There was no social distancing, a 10% mask use rate, it was chaos!”

After a national outcry, the district reversed course and the kids were allowed to return.

Watters raised her concerns after the district called mask-wearing a “personal choice” and acknowledged that social distancing “will not be possible to enforce” in most cases.

One school nurse in the district resigned over concerns about virus safety.

Trump end run around Congress raises questions on his claims

AP – President Donald Trump’s end run around Congress on coronavirus relief is raising questions about whether it would give Americans the economic lifeline he claims and appears certain to face legal challenges. Democrats called it a pre-election ploy that would burden cash-strapped states.

“When you look at those executive orders … the kindest thing I could say is he doesn’t know what he’s talking about or something’s wrong there,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “To characterize them as even accomplishing what they set out to do, as something that will take the place of an agreement, is just not so.”

After negotiations with lawmakers on the next package of pandemic economic assistance hit a wall, Trump used what he said were the inherent powers of the presidency to forge ahead on tax and spending policy that Congress says it is granted by the Constitution.

Trump asserted he had the authority to defer payroll taxes and extend an expired unemployment benefit, although at a lower amount than what the jobless had been getting during the crisis. His reelection chances imperiled by the pandemic, the president contended his orders “will take care of pretty much this entire situation, as we know it.”

But the orders appeared to carry less weight than Trump promoted and cut federal relief spending by shifting more onto the shoulders of struggling states. Critics said the actions crossed a legal line and fell well short of what is needed to help right the fragile economy.

“Paltry,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York, given the scope of the economic and health crises.

Though certain to further strain relations with Congress, the moves were framed by the White House as the president breaking through the Washington gridlock in order to directly distribute aid. Advisers hope it will sustain an economic recovery that Trump likely needs to defeat Democrat Joe Biden in November.

Barr: The left ‘believes in tearing down the system’

The Hill – Attorney General William Barr on Sunday voiced scathing criticism of the Democratic Party, claiming the left is trying to tear down U.S. institutions in a pursuit for “total victory.”

The comments came in an expansive one-hour interview with Fox News host Mark Levin that touched on subjects including Barr’s recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the Black Lives Matter protests and the expansion of mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked about the recent hearing, Barr said that Democrats’ accusations against him were a reflection of how partisan politics have become in recent decades. He zeroed in on Democrats, alleging that the party has “withdrawn and pulled away from the umbrella of classical liberal values that have undergirded our society since our founding.”

“I think the left has essentially withdrawn from this model, and really represents a Rousseauian revolutionary party that believes in tearing down the system,” he said.  “They’re interested in complete political victory, they’re not interested in compromise, they’re not interested in dialectic exchange of views.”

The attorney general added that Democrats’ push for victory is their “substitute for a religion.” 

Barr has come under heavy scrutiny from Democrats in Congress over some of his actions while in the Trump administration. During the hearing last month, Democrats confronted Barr over the deployment of federal officers to U.S. cities and the prosecution of  Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of President Trump‘s. They also sought to paint Barr as a Trump loyalist whose actions were in accord with personally benefiting the president. 

Barr dismissed those accusations, saying amid the hearing that he has worked to “restore the rule of law” during his tenure. 

White House reached out to South Dakota governor about adding Trump to Mount Rushmore

Daily Mail – A White House aide reached out to the office of South Dakota’s governor to inquire about the process for adding additional presidents to Mount Rushmore, it has been claimed.

The request was made last year, a Republican official told The New York Times.

The White House, asked about the request, did not deny that it had taken place, and instead replied that it was a federal, not state, monument.

Donald Trump first raised the prospect of having his face carved on the historic site soon after he took office, in January 2017.

Kristi Noem, who at the time was a Congresswoman representing South Dakota, said he floated the idea during that first meeting.

‘He said: “Kristi, come on over here. Shake my hand,”‘ Noem recalled.

‘I shook his hand, and I said: “Mr President, you should come to South Dakota sometime. We have Mount Rushmore.”

‘And he goes: “Do you know it’s my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?” ‘

Donald Trump, pictured at Mount Rushmore on July 4, has long mused about adding himself

The July 4 rally was a triumph for Governor Kristi Noem, who had long lobbied for him to visit

Noem said she thought he was joking.

‘I started laughing,’ she said. ‘He wasn’t laughing, so he was totally serious.’

Later that year, Trump raised it again – this time in public, at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, in July.

‘I’d ask whether or not you think I will someday be on Mount Rushmore, but here’s the problem: If I did it joking, totally joking, having fun, the fake news media will say ‘he believes he should be on Mount Rushmore,’ he said.

‘So I won’t say it, OK? I won’t say it.’

Maureen McGee-Ballinger, public information officer at Mount Rushmore, told The Argus Leader that workers are asked daily whether any president can be added.

Economy & Business

President vows permanent cut to payroll tax

Chron –  President Donald Trump’s new executive actions to disburse coronavirus relief without Congress sparked confusion and frustration Sunday among businesses, Democrats and state officials, some of whom lamented the moves would not deliver the necessary relief to cash-strapped Americans.

Trump’s directives were aimed at offering new unemployment benefits, protecting renters from eviction and postponing the payment of a federal tax. But an array of economists and lawmakers depicted these policies as incomplete, unworkable or legally questionable – raising the prospect that the president’s attempt to boost the economy may have a muted impact.

One of the orders allows employees making less than $104,000 to delay until January payment of a payroll tax that funds Social Security and Medicare. Trump added that he would try to change federal rules next year to make the deferred payments into a permanent tax cut – but only if he is reelected.

The tax typically is taken out of paychecks by employers. And businesses, payment processors and economists signaled Sunday, in the absence of a guarantee, that the payroll taxes actually will be absolved, businesses would be unlikely to alter worker paychecks.

“It’s a little bit of a leap of faith on an employer’s part,” said Pete Isberg, the vice president of government affairs for ADP, which processes payments for 40 million workers and 800,000 businesses.

Global Lockdowns Set to Plunge 100 Million Into Extreme Poverty

Infowars – The impact of the global coronavirus lockdown is set to plunge 100 million people into extreme poverty, warns a new report by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

The report appears to pin the blame on COVID-19 itself for the economic impact, yet the actual culprit is discovered to be the “restrictions” put in place by governments in response to the pandemic.

From the report:

“With the virus and its restrictions, up to 100 million more people globally could fall into the bitter existence of living on just $1.90 a day, according to the World Bank. That’s “well below any reasonable conception of a life with dignity,” the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty wrote this year. And it comes on top of the 736 million people already there, half of them in just five countries: Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Congo and Bangladesh.”

The report notes that the impact of the lockdown on the poor in countries like India was “so abrupt and punishing” that their Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, begged for forgiveness.

The report will stir up further debate as to whether the global lockdown will prove more deadly than COVID-19 itself, with extreme poverty being directly linked to death and shortened life spans. According to research published by Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University, around 1.4 million people are expected to die from untreated TB infections due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Experts have also warned that hundreds of thousands or even millions of people could die in the longer term as a result of the lockdown preventing them from receiving treatment for cancer and other serious illnesses.

Coronavirus pandemic could be twice as bad for global economy as WORLD WAR – McKinsey

RT – Production disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak could cost the global economy twice as much as a hypothetical global military conflict, recent research by the McKinsey Global Institute shows.

In a report headlined ‘Risk, resilience, and rebalancing in global value chains’, the analysts of US-based consulting firm McKinsey evaluated various risks of a manufacturing shutdown lasting 100 days. The economic shocks considered in the report stem from a wide range of possible events – from a cyberattack and trade rows to military conflicts and a pandemic – and vary in frequency, lead time, and nature of impact.

It turns out that damages from a hypothetical world war scenario could amount to around $15 trillion, while the coronavirus pandemic would cost as much as two such conflicts and leave a hole of around $30 trillion in the global economy. This is three times more than the cost of the Great Recession, which is estimated at $10 trillion, and 30 times as much as the fallout from a large-scale cyberattack.

Empty Mall Spaces to become AMAZON fulfillment centers?

WSJ – Simon Property Group Inc., the biggest mall owner in the U.S., has been in talks with Amazon.com Inc. to turn some of its anchor department-store spaces into Amazon fulfillment centers, according to people familiar with the matter.

For Amazon, more fulfillment centers near residential areas would speed up the crucial last mile of delivery. For Simon, turning over what was once prime mall space to fulfillment centers shows it would be willing to relinquish an essential way to bring in more mall traffic to secure a steady tenant.

Energy & Environment

5.1-magnitude quake hits North Carolina, causes minor damage

AP – The most powerful earthquake to hit North Carolina in more than 100 years shook much of the state early Sunday, rattling homes, businesses and residents.

The National Weather Service in Greenville said the 5.1-magnitude temblor struck at 8:07 a.m., following a much smaller quake several hours earlier.

There were no reports of serious injuries, but some minor structural damage was reported in Sparta, as well as cracks in roads. Images on social media also showed items knocked off of grocery store shelves.

The U.S. Geological Survey said on its website that there are chances for one or more aftershocks in the next week, forecasting a 45% chance for earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater. The chances of another quake as strong as the one on Sunday or greater was about 1%, the geological survey said.

Alleghany County, which includes Sparta, declared a state of emergency Sunday afternoon.

Michael Hull was standing in his driveway at his home in Sparta when he noticed a group of deer running.

“Not even a minute passed and the side-to-side motion started,” Hull said. “It takes you a minute to realize what’s happening, and you just can’t believe it. Then it was over. It was loud, like God was shaking a mountain at you, literally.”

Science & Technology

Chicago uses social media to track quarantine violations

Fox – On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t post that selfie.

Chicago is doubling down on efforts to enforce its emergency coronavirus travel order, as officials will now be reviewing the social media posts of possible violators as the pandemic continues.

Public health authorities shared the update during a news conference earlier this week, revealing that officials may check the social feeds of suspected offenders to collect evidence for a possible citation, according to USA Today. The outlet reports that suspected violators will be identified as such through “contact tracing or other measures.”

The city’s emergency travel order took effect on July 6, mandating that those who arrive from states with surges in COVID-19 cases quarantine for a 14-day period upon arrival.

“One of the easiest ways to sort of get enough proof that there was the potential of a violated quarantine order without me having to send out an inspector or do any sort of more aggressive follow up to collect that is to look at social media,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner, according to NBC Chicago.

“They’re in any of the states that violated our order and then a few days later, they’re in Chicago, and they’re clearly out in Chicago, not just back, but at a restaurant or at the Bean or whatever it may be, and they’re posting about that — that’s an example of where we could use that as proof to issue citations,” Arwady continued, stressing that the practice will be used on a case-by-case basis.

“I don’t want to like overemphasize that we’re somehow Big Brother in monitoring people’s social accounts — we’re absolutely not doing that,” she said. “But where we already have a concern, it’s one of the easiest ways to identify people who are not just breaking the travel order but flaunting it publicly.”

As of Friday morning, 22 states and Puerto Rico are listed on the city’s emergency travel order quarantine list.

SPACEX Soars as Pentagon Contractor… Musk Makes Billions Off Military

WSJ – Elon Musk’s SpaceX has vaulted into an elite tier of military suppliers, winning a multibillion-dollar contract that makes it one of the Pentagon’s two primary satellite-launch providers through most of the decade.

In a significant boost to Mr. Musk’s closely held Southern California company, the Air Force on Friday said SpaceX will split an estimated nearly three dozen launches through 2027 with United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. Until a few years ago, ULA had a virtual monopoly…

Health

Dentists say ‘mask mouth’ can cause serious health complications, including strokes

Washington Examiner – Dentists are warning about the health issues tied to prolonged use of a mask to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

They said dental problems associated with “mask mouth,” including gum disease, could lead to serious complications.

“Gum disease — or periodontal disease — will eventually lead to strokes and an increased risk of heart attacks,” Marc Sclafani, a dentist and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental, told the New York Post about “mask mouth,” which is increasingly causing inflammation and gum disease among patients.

Another dentist and co-founder at One Manhattan Dental, Rob Ramondi, said 50% of his patients are suffering from negative health issues due to mask-wearing.

Stay hydrated and boost your fiber intake: 10 Ways to reset your diet

NaturalNews – Going on vacation or spending time with your family during the holidays can be an indulgent time for most people. And while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying an occasional treat or two, binge-eating can sometimes undo the progress you’ve made while following a balanced diet.

If you’re feeling a little bloated after the holidays or a long vacation, try the tips below to boost your gut health and improve your eating habits.

Stay hydrated

Sometimes, you may think you’re hungry when you’re actually just thirsty. Drink lots of water throughout the day to prevent excessive snacking.

Staying hydrated also helps flush toxins out of your system. Consume at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water daily.

Use a refillable water bottle and bring it with you wherever you go so you don’t forget to drink some water.

Try a cleansing drink

When you’re having digestive issues, try making a DIY bubbly cleansing mineral water. Buy sparkling water, then add one dropper of chlorophyll and trace minerals.

This cleansing drink boosts your mineral intake, promotes liver health and helps you stay hydrated. Enjoy your drink throughout the day so you don’t overwhelm your digestive system.

Consume lots of fluids and dietary fiber

If you’re feeling sluggish after a vacation, drink more fluids and eat more fiber-rich foods. (Related: Add fiber-rich chia and flax to your diet and boost your heart health.)

After drinking lots of water, eat foods rich in fiber like avocado, berries and other fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

Sip bone broth

Consuming bone broth helps boost the health of your gut microbiota. Bone broth can give your gut a break from irritating foods and give it essential nutrients like collagen, which helps repair the gut lining.

Take probiotics

Incorporating a high-quality probiotic into your diet can help relieve indigestion or bloating.

Start by taking a high-quality probiotic every morning with your breakfast smoothie, then rotate your probiotic every six weeks to promote bacterial diversity. Take supplements with at least 50 billion CFU (colony-forming units) to improve your digestion and have a healthier gut microbiome.

Eat mindfully and minimize your sugar intake

Going on a cleanse helps boost your energy levels and revitalize your body. Avoid eating sugary and processed foods. During your cleanse, stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy snacks. Make it a habit to practice daily mindfulness.

If you’re feeling stressed, try meditation and eat more mindfully to avoid unhealthy snacking.

Cook at home

If you’re snacking too much while on vacation, manage your eating habits by staying hydrated. You should also focus on cooking more meals at home and using low-inflammatory, whole foods as ingredients.

To manage your blood sugar balance, consume more “good” fats and limit your intake of protein and high-quality carbohydrates.

Clean and reorganize your pantry

If you find yourself eating a lot of junk food, set aside some time to clean out your pantry.

Get rid of expired snacks and stock up on healthy items like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If you see these healthy ingredients in your kitchen, you can easily whip up a healthy snack when you’re hungry.

Take a break from not-so-healthy foods.

If you partied too hard on Friday night or during the weekend, help your liver recover by avoiding drinks and foods with alcohol, caffeine and sugar.

Manage your stress levels

Animal studies have shown that psychological stressors can disrupt the balance of intestinal microorganisms, even if the stress is short-lived.

Because stress affects both your physical and mental well-being, identifying daily stressors and addressing them can help improve your gut health.

Manage your stress levels naturally by trying techniques such as deep breathing exercises and meditation. Having healthy lifestyle habits, following a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep can also help reduce your stress levels.