Today’s News: July 24, 2020

World News

Panic grips northeastern Chinese city hit by new coronavirus outbreak

NaturalNews – The announcement of a new Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian has prompted panic from the local populace who fear a new total lockdown of the city.

Dalian authorities announced the new outbreak on July 23, stating that they found three patients who had been diagnosed with the deadly disease.

As a result of the announcement, the city soon isolated the patients’ close contacts at several hotels and arranged for nucleic acid tests on around 190,000 people. In addition, authorities have also locked down neighborhoods, metro stations and markets.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Bill requires employers to keep implanted microchips voluntary for workers

ABC – (6/25/2020) – As employers around the U.S. implant microchips in workers to track productivity, the Michigan House passed a bill making them voluntary in the state.

The bill passed Wednesday prohibits employers from requiring workers to accept a microchip implant.

“With the way technology has increased over the years and as it continues to grow, it’s important Michigan job providers balance the interests of the company with their employees’ expectations of privacy,” said State Rep. Bronna Kahle of Lenawee County, who sponsored the bill.

She said companies increasingly are turning to miniature microchips about the size of a rice grain implanted in employees’ hands to track productivity so managers can look for ways to boost efficiency.

“The Smart Mark” – Predictive Programming for the Mark of the Beast from Netflix

Z3News (June 12, 2020) – Satan is the “Prince of the Air”. It is not surprising that people are programmed by the most powerful people in the world to follow their desired plans for them and regurgitate their narratives.

This video clip is from the “Stretch Armstrong & the Flex Fighters” cartoon off Netflix that ran a few years ago. Look how clearly it shows “The Mark of the Beast” described in Revelation. Additionally this mark seems similar to the MIT Quantum Dot Tattoo. From www.williamhenry.net website, “In December 2019, researchers at MIT, under the supervision of (Bill) Gates, have developed exactly this “brand of the Beast” in the form of quantum dot tags that fluoresce after they are injected during a vaccination.

In a Rebuke of Trump, Congress Moves to Remove Confederate Names From Military Bases

Time – It looks like military bases honoring the memories of Confederate figures are going to need some new names at the front gates. The only questions remaining are whether it takes one year to rename the bases, as prescribed in a House-passed version of a bipartisan military bill or three, as its Senate counterpart calls for — and how much President Donald Trump will exploit the divisive issue for his own political gain.

With a re-election campaign that fully embraces his base, Trump’s instincts have him running against a fast-changing public opinion on the place of Confederate memorials and memory. In the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody and the ensuing national reckoning on racial injustice, polls find a majority of Americans in support of removing markers of the men who rose up against the United States over, among other issues, slavery.

Trump has remained antagonistic toward the shift in mood and the ensuing removal of these homages in many places. He incorrectly said NASCAR’s ratings were down after it banned the display of Confederate flags at its events. He likened the flags to exercises of free speech on par with the Black Lives Matter protests. He turned the neighborhood around the White House into a military state in a show of force that shocked the capital as protesters picketed a statue of Andrew Jackson. And he has mobilized federal police in other cities forces to defend any destruction of Confederate monuments on public lands.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has Christopher Columbus statues removed from Chicago parks overnight

Chicago Tribune – Hoping to avoid another high-profile confrontation between police and protesters like the clash that happened last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the statues of Christopher Columbus removed from Chicago’s Grant and Arrigo parks overnight.

Not all Italian American leaders in Chicago are on board with the decision, but it has received the blessing of some groups, sources said. By taking the statues down, Lightfoot may draw criticism from those who believe she caved to activist demands.

Portland passes resolution barring police from cooperating with federal law enforcement

NaturalNews – The Portland City Council has passed a resolution that explicitly prohibits the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) from cooperating or in any way working with federal law enforcement agencies.

On Wednesday, July 22, Portlands three commissioners, Chloe Eudaly, Amanda Fritz and Jo Ann Hardesty, as well as by Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also sits on the council, unanimously voted in favor of the resolution. All four people are members of the Democratic Party.

The resolution solidifies into law a series of shaky agreements made by local officials to keep the PPB from collaborating with any federal law enforcement unit that is dressed in camouflaged combat uniforms.

Judge blocks federal agents from arresting observers in Portland

AP – A federal judge specifically blocked U.S. agents from arresting or using physical force against journalists and legal observers at protests in Oregon’s largest city where President Donald Trump is testing the limits of federal power.

Federal agents appeared to deploy tear gas early Friday to force thousands of demonstrators from crowding around the federal courthouse.

Protesters had projected lasers on the building and attempted to take down a security fence that had been reinforced to keep demonstrators at a distance. The protesters moved away as clouds of gas rose from the area and flash grenades could be heard.

U.S. Judge Michael Simon made his ruling late Thursday, a day after Portland’s mayor was tear-gassed by federal agents while making an appearance outside a federal courthouse during raucous demonstrations. Protesters have been kept up in the city for nearly two months since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

Trump to Send Federal Forces to Chicago, Albuquerque

The agents’ mission will be different in scope than that of widely criticized federal forces in Portland, Oregon.

US News  – PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP will send a surge of federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to tamp down on violent crime in what is the administration’s latest effort to intervene in local law enforcement as Trump continues to tout a “law and order” message ahead of the November election.

The deployment of federal forces comes amid sustained protests against racism and police brutality, and calls from some to shift some funding away from police departments and toward social services and other community programs.

Professor forced to retire after ‘slave’ tweet found dead…

The News Observer – A UNC-Wilmington professor who was set to retire next month after a history of controversial social media posts was found dead in his home on Thursday afternoon, law enforcement said.

Deputies with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Wilmington home of Mike Adams to do a wellness check and found his body, according to Lieutenant J.J. Brewer. The Sheriff’s Office is conducting a death investigation at the house on Windsong Road, but did not release any other details about the circumstances.

Adams, a 55-year-old tenured criminology professor, was set to retire from UNCW on Aug. 1, after reaching a settlement agreement with the university for more than $500,000. He sparked controversy at the university for more than a decade, particularly and most recently surrounding his comments on social media, The News & Observer previously reported.

CRITICISM OVER CORONAVIRUS TWEETS

His early retirement was announced last month after Adams was publicly criticized for tweets about Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home orders because of the coronavirus.

In a May 28 tweet, Adams said universities shouldn’t be closing but that they should shut down “the non-essential majors. Like Women’s Studies.”

The next day, Adams tweeted, “This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!”

Adams also tweeted about the individuals protesting the killing of George Floyd, saying that rioters were “thugs looking for an opportunity to break the law with impunity.”

Mayors urge residents to wear masks — at home!

The Hill – Two Florida mayors who govern Miami and Miami-Dade County encouraged their residents on Thursday to wear masks inside to lower the transmission rate of COVID-19 between family members.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) explained that while the city’s number of daily new cases is down, the virus is still being spread easily through households, as multigenerational households are commonplace in Miami.

“I would tell our residents — and this is voluntary, this is not something that we can mandate — that they should consider, particularly if they have a multigenerational household, wearing masks indoors at times with their multigenerational residents and also respecting social distance when they’re at home,” Suarez told reporters.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R) had a similar message at his own press conference.

“Because we have such a high level of positivity rate here in Miami-Dade, you also need to start thinking about maintaining a distance also from your loved ones for a while,” Gimenez said. “Yes, I know It’s a sacrifice, but do so because, again, just because it’s your son or your daughter or your cousin or your mother or your father, doesn’t mean they don’t have [COVID-19].”

Economy & Business

Visa, Microsoft, Pfizer top list of most profitable companies in coronavirus

Microsoft saw the highest percentage of change in profits, according to Oxfam America

Fox – As the coronavirus pandemic shutters businesses across the U.S., some of the country’s largest corporations are posting huge profit margins.

The top 25 most profitable companies in the U.S. are earning an 11-percent profit margin on average while smaller firms reported a nearly 50-percent earnings drop on average during the first quarter of 2020, according to an analysis from activist organization Oxfam America.

Here are the top five most profitable companies in the U.S., based on the analysis:

  1. Visa (52-percent profit margin) 2. Microsoft (33-percent profit margin) 3. Pfizer (31-percent profit margin) 4. Intel (30-percent profit margin) 5. Facebook (~28-percent profit margin)

Microsoft saw the highest percentage of change in profits, according to the report. It also ranked at No. 2 for the most successful pre-pandemic companies behind Apple and ahead of Google and Facebook.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep inequalities and massive failures in our economic system, leaving tens of millions of people in the United States without jobs, devastating public services, and bankrupting countless small businesses,” Irit Tamir, director of the private sector department at Oxfam America, said in a statement.

He added that while tens of millions of people are out of work, “thanks to a combination of government assistance and pure luck, a handful of corporations are raking it in and making already rich shareholders even richer.”

Seventeen of the top 25 most profitable U.S. companies are expected to earn a collective $85 billion more in 2020, despite the pandemic, compared to the last four years on average, Oxfarm found.

Researchers noted that these 25 companies will give 99 percent of net profits to shareholders.

MLB players, including Mookie Betts, kneel for Opening Day national anthem to support Black Lives Matter

CBS – Major League Baseball started its 2020 regular season on Thursday night with a pair of games. First, the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals squared off, and then the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers took centerstage. Both contests saw players either protest racial inequality and express their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Dodgers star Mookie Betts was the lone member of L.A. to kneel during the national anthem, and numerous members of the Giants — manager Gabe Kapler included — joined Betts before their season opener.

White actors are resigning from voicing characters of color on animated shows

PennLive – With national Black Lives Matter protests taking place, many brands, companies and states have been making changes to address their roles in systemic racism. Now, several animated shows have recently joined the conversation about racial injustice and erasure in the industry.

Teachers unions sue Florida governor over order requiring schools to reopen amid coronavirus outbreak

The Hill – National and local teachers unions on Monday filed a lawsuit seeking to block an order from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) requiring schools to reopen in August despite a sustained surge in coronavirus cases in the state. 

The American Federation of Teachers and its local affiliate, the Florida Education Association (FEA), are alleging that an order requiring the resumption of in-person classes violates the state constitution’s mandate on “safe” and “secure” public education.

The lawsuit, filed in state court in Miami, asks a judge to issue an injunction blocking DeSantis from going through with the statewide mandate, which the unions claim would “force millions of public school students and employees to report to brick and mortar schools that should remain closed during the resurgence of COVID-19 cases.”

Energy & Environment

Walmart, Target, CVS partner in search of plastic bag alternative

Group members will collectively invest $15M in initiative

Fox – Major retailers are working together to find alternatives to single-use plastic bags.

On Tuesday, Target announced it would be joining the initiative — called the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag — as a founding partner alongside CVS Health and Walmart.

Kroger and Walgreens have also joined the group, which was created by investment firm Closed Loop, according to its website.

The goal of the consortium is “to identify, pilot and implement innovative alternative designs for the single-use retail bag,” according to Target’s announcement.

Science & Technology

Amazon rolls out little delivery robot to more cities

Mashable – Amazon is rolling out its robot delivery trial to more cities.

The e-commerce giant launched its delivery system, Amazon Scout, in January 2019 using electric, autonomous vehicles that can navigate sidewalks to deliver packages. They were first developed and tested in Snohomish County, north of Seattle, then rolled out in Irvine, California in August of that year. Now, Amazon will extend that trial to select customers in Atlanta, Georgia, and Franklin, Tennessee.

In a blog post Tuesday, Sean Scott, vice president of Amazon Scout, said the service was most recently used to help meet customer demand in the trial areas during the pandemic, in conjunction with its existing fleet of delivery vehicles. 

“Amazon Scout has continued to operate during the pandemic and helped us meet increased customer demand by supplementing our transportation network,” the post reads. “Adding Atlanta and Franklin to our existing operations gives Scout devices the opportunity to operate in varied neighborhoods with different climates than they operate in today.”

The post noted that Amazon also has a significant presence in Atlanta and Franklin through corporate offices and warehouses, further explaining the location choice.

Health

FDA Warns About Toxic Hand Sanitizers

Agency found wood alcohol, which can be fatal when ingested, in dozens of products originating from companies in Mexico

WSJ – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to avoid dozens of imported hand-sanitizer products after the agency found toxic wood alcohol in some samples.

Most of the questionable brands came from roughly a half-dozen companies in Mexico, according to the agency. Several were sold by major retailers such as Walmart Inc.