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Today’s News: June 12, 2020

World News

Over 95% Of UK “COVID-19” Deaths Had “Pre-Existing Condition”

Latest statistics show vast majority of fatalities had at least one other disease

Off Guardian – Over 95% of “COVID Deaths” recorded in England and Wales had potentially serious comorbidities, according to statistics released by NHS England.

The latest figures make for pretty stark reading. Or, rather, they would make for stark reading…if they didn’t follow the exact same pattern already shown in other nations around the world.

These are across all of England and Wales since the beginning of the “pandemic”.

Simply put: Of the 27045 deaths with Covid19 in English hospitals (up to June 3rd), only 1318 had no pre-existing conditions. That’s less than 5%.

This mirrors, almost exactly, the statistics reported in Italy back in March.

In fact, the 25,727 other cases were listed as having over 42,000 comorbidities. That’s almost 2 each (the report itself points out that many patients had multiple conditions). This, again, aligns completely with the Italian figures which said over 80% of fatalities had at least 2 comorbidities.

What are these comorbidities? We don’t know. Not entirely specifically. The report lists ischemic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, asthma and dementia among others. But it also lists nearly 19,000 “other” conditions, presumably including liver failure, emphysema, AIDS, ALL forms of cancers and literally potentially thousands of other diseases.

Implicit in this is the possibility that these diseases were the actual cause of death, and that Covid19 played no direct role at all.

Further, the PCR test for coronavirus can return false positives in up to 80% of cases, so it’s entirely possible the majority of these deaths never even had the virus.

Appeal to Remove ‘Racist’ Statues Gathers Momentum in Norway

Sputnik – Following the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of US police, a war against monuments seen as controversial has gripped the both sides of the Atlantic, claiming legendary wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill as their biggest scalp so far.

Thousands of Norwegians have signed an appeal to remove the statues of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Danish-Norwegian writer and philosopher Ludvig Holberg.

According to the initiators, Churchill was a racist and a white supremacist, whereas Holberg, who is venerated as the father of modern Danish and Norwegian literature, was a slave trader.

“It is incredible that racist white men who thought it was okay to oppress black people to such a degree have a place in our streets! <…> We expect both the statues to be laid down! Basically, they were both racists and that should be argument enough for them not to stand in our streets in 2020. Unfortunately, all their achievements are overshadowed by the fact that they were racists”, the petition said.

Churchill, Washington Statues And Cenotaph War Memorial Boarded Up In London

Black Lives Matter CANCEL demonstration to avoid clashes with counter protesters who vowed to defend monuments

Infowars – The statue of Winston Churchill, as well as the Cenotaph war memorial in Central London have been boarded up ‘for their own protection’, even though Black Lives Matter have canceled demonstrations scheduled for this weekend.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan ordered the boarding up of the monuments, along with a host of others throughout the city, claiming that it is ‘to make sure they are protected’. Khan is pushing an ongoing effort to ‘diversify’ the landmarks of London.

Khan also suggested that it is ‘extreme far right groups who advocate hatred and division’ that would cause violence, despite the fact that for the past two weeks the violence against police and vandalism of monuments has been perpetrated solely by BLM agitators.

The boarding went up around the Churchill statue and other monuments last night. Churchill is now completely obscured.

Other statues such as this one of King James II got the same treatment.

A statue of George Washington in Trafalgar Square is now also completely obscure.

Workmen arrived this morning at Guy’s Hospital to board up a statue of founder Thomas Guy.

The Cenotaph war memorial was also partially obscured.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Merriam-Webster Agrees to Change Definition of ‘Racism’ After Woman Complains

Remarkably, this is not satire.

Information Liberation – From KMOV 4:

The dictionary defines racism as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

[…] “I basically told them they need to include that there is systematic oppression on people. It’s not just ‘I don’t like someone,’ it’s a system of oppression for a certain group of people,” [recent college grad Kennedy Mitchum] explained.

And after a few back and forth emails, the editor of Merriam Webster Dictionary agreed and wrote back, “While our focus will always be on faithfully reflecting the real-world usage of a word, not on promoting any particular viewpoint, we have concluded that omitting any mention of the systemic aspects of racism promotes a certain viewpoint in itself.”

Alex Chambers, the editor of Merriam Webster Dictionary said a revision to the entry for “racism” is now being drafted. 

“This revision would not have been made without your persistence in contacting us about this problem. We sincerely thank you for repeatedly writing in and apologize for the harm and offense we have caused in failing to address the issue sooner. I will see to it that the entry for racism is given the attention it sorely needs,” wrote Chambers.

The term racism is said to have originated with communist Leon Trotsky in 1933, but it was only popularized rather recently by Trotsky’s bedfellows in the US media. 

The New York Times’ Chronicle, which mapped out what percentage of Times articles included specific words over the years, showed they didn’t start pushing the term until around the mid 1960’s.

“Racism” is an interesting word in that it has no set definition. What was considered perfectly normal a few years ago is now considered “racist.”

The definition of what is “racist” is constantly expanding. The latest iteration of “racism” is “white silence” — which is described as “violence.”

Meanwhile, New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones (who was just given a Pulitzer Prize) said recently that the violent destruction of property by rioters “is not violence” because the property “can be replaced.” 

Considering how rapidly this cultural revolution is taking place, how long will we have to wait before Merriam-Webster changes the definition of “violence” to include “white silence” and throws in an exemption for property destruction?

HBO REMOVES ‘GONE WITH THE WIND’, ERASING FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO WIN AN OSCAR

Infowars – HBO has caved to the demands of the mob and removed ‘Gone With the Wind’ from its platform, in the process erasing the first black female Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel.

Another massive victory for the “anti-racists”.

“HBO Max said the 1939 film was “a product of its time” and depicted “ethnic and racial prejudices” that “were wrong then and are wrong today,” reports BBC News.

The controversy centers around a depiction of slave characters who are content to stay with their owners after slavery is abolished (something that did happen and is not historically inaccurate).

The film’s removal takes on an added layer of ludicrousness when you consider that in deleting the movie, HBO has also erased the first black female Oscar winner from history.

“These people are certifiably nuts. The first Black woman to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel for Gone With The Wind. Now her work is removed from view in the name of being anti racist?” tweeted Robby Starbuck.

HBO Max said it was “irresponsible” to broadcast Gone With the Wind without “an explanation and a denouncement” of its “racist depictions” and that the film would likely return to the platform at a later date with a “discussion of its historical context”. 

Audible has yet to comment on whether it will commence digital book burnings by removing ‘controversial’ titles, but don’t be surprised to see titles start disappearing soon.

#BLM Coalition Demanding Abolition of Police Previously Received $33 Million From Open Society Foundations

The Movement for Black Lives, funded by a series of liberal groups in 2016, pushes a radical agenda during the George Floyd protests.

National File – In 2016, organizations in the Black Lives Matter movement received $33 million in grants from the Open Society Foundations, founded by Hungarian hedge fund manager George Soros in 1993, and the Center for American Progress, founded by former White House chief of staff and Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in 2003.

The Washington Times reported that, in 2016, the Black Lives Matter coalition raised over $100 million from a series of wealthy liberal foundations including The Ford Foundation, in addition to $33 million in grants from the Open Society Foundations, with additional grant-making from the Center for American Progress.

PolitiFact notes that Open Society Foundations previously condemned violence, and claims that Open Society Foundations reiterated this regarding the recent unrest in emails.

Nevertheless, civil unrest continues to spread in the United States, with demonstrations ranging from peaceful protests to riots following the death of George Floyd in police custody, despite the officers involved having been fired and arrested.

Black Lives Matter, as an idea, has become one of the most recognizable displays in support of those participating in the unrest, with corporate brands and cities adopting the #BlackLivesMatter hash tag on social media, and using it to rename streets across the country.

However, the largest Black Lives Matter coalition, the Movement for Black Lives, which Black Lives Matter co-founder Ariel Garza says she does “a lot of work with” and has been credited as “co-founder” of, was a recipient of the fundraising storm in 2016.

Amazon Halts Use Of ‘Racist’ Facial Recognition Software By Police

ZeroHedge – As we have detailed numerous times over the past few years (here, here, here, and here), facial recognition systems are becoming more and more mainstream and accepted by an increasing number of ‘average joes’ around the world as the cost of security (or just ease of life).

The problem is, as we detailed previously, for some segments of society, it is wildly inaccurate.

During a test run by the ACLU of Northern California, facial recognition misidentified 26 members of the California legislature as people in a database of arrest photos.

Specifically, after Oakland and San Francisco voted against the use of facial recognition, Rep. Tashida Tlaib claimed that “the error rate among African-Americans, especially women,” was 60 percent.

And that perhaps explains Jeff Bezos’ sudden decisionjust a day after IBM loudly proclaimed its decision top quit the facial recognition business – to halt sales of its Rekognition system to police forces in America:

We’re implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Amazon’s facial recognition technology. We will continue to allow organizations like Thorn, the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Marinus Analytics to use Amazon Rekognition to help rescue human trafficking victims and reunite missing children with their families.

We’ve advocated that governments should put in place stronger regulations to govern the ethical use of facial recognition technology, and in recent days, Congress appears ready to take on this challenge. We hope this one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested.

This decision comes two years after the ACLU demanded Amazon “stop selling affordable surveillance” to police forces across America.

“We demand that Amazon stop powering a government surveillance infrastructure that poses a grave threat to customers and communities across the country. Amazon should not be in the business of providing surveillance systems like Rekognition to the government.”

The letter said Amazon had promoted itself as a “customer-centric company,” but that seems not to be the case with Rekognition, as it is a powerful mass surveillance tool readily available to violate rights.

“Amazon touts itself as a customer-centric company and directs its leadership to “work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust.” In the past, Amazon has opposed secret government surveillance. And you [Jeff Bezos] have personally supported First Amendment freedoms and spoken out against the discriminatory Muslim Ban. But Amazon’s Rekognition product runs counter to these values. As advertised, Rekognition is a powerful surveillance system readily available to violate rights and target communities of color.”

Amazon also previously said that it’s Rekognition facial recognition software could detect a person’s fear, according to CNBC.

As one of several Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services, Rekognition can be used for facial analysis or sentiment analysis by identifying different expressions and predicting emotions based on images of people’s faces. The system uses AI to ‘learn’ as it compiles data. 

The tech giant revealed updates to the controversial tool on Monday that include improving the accuracy and functionality of its face analysis features such as identifying gender, emotions and age range.

“With this release, we have further improved the accuracy of gender identification,” Amazon said in a blog post. “In addition, we have improved accuracy for emotion detection (for all 7 emotions: ‘Happy’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’, ‘Surprised’, ‘Disgusted’, ‘Calm’ and ‘Confused’) and added a new emotion: ‘Fear.’” –CNBC

But while Amazon may be ‘pausing’ its spyware sales, China’s tech behemoths are pushing ahead, taking the process of training their algos on non-white faces to a whole new level  trying to ‘fix’ this extremely high-level of inaccuracy for certain cohorts by tricking black people into being scanned.

Jim Jordan’s Big Idea: Enact FISA reform to fix ‘system-wide problem’

Fox – Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, says reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is paramount to protecting U.S. citizens’ right to privacy, warning that if a president of the United States can fall victim to misconduct, so can the average American.

Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, has been a leading voice for FISA reform for months. Jordan helped author the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2020, which passed the House of Representatives this spring and moved to the Senate.

The bill, last month, then returned to the House, with lawmakers poised to consider an amendment and pass the package with bipartisan support. The legislation at first was supported by GOP lawmakers including Jordan as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Attorney General Bill Barr.

But then President Trump weighed in, urging opposition “until such time as our Country is able to determine how and why the greatest political, criminal, and subversive scandal in USA history took place!” With Trump calling essentially for further examination of the Russia probe, the bill was tabled and lawmakers moved the effort to conference committee, which is meant to resolve differences and strike a FISA deal that can pass both chambers.

FISA reform became a priority for both Republicans and Democrats following a review from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who revealed significant inaccuracies and omissions by the FBI in a FISA warrant application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2016.

Some examples of reform Jordan has proposed include the appointment of an adviser to represent all U.S. persons targeted by FISA if they are a federal office holder, a political candidate, a campaign employee or volunteer, or part of a media organization — unless there is probable cause showing they have engaged in espionage, terrorism, or proliferated weapons of mass destruction.

Jordan also proposed that the attorney general have final sign off on all FISA applications targeting a federal official or political candidate, or someone on a candidate’s staff.

Jordan has also suggested that the president, with advice and consent of the Senate, be the one to appoint judges to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), instead of unilateral appointment by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Pelosi wants 11 statues taken down at Capitol

Speaker wants Joint Committee on the Library to direct removal of Confederates

Rollcall – Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for the removal of 11 Confederate statues from the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection.

In a letter sent on Wednesday, Pelosi asked the Joint Committee on the Library — led by Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, and House Administration Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat — to direct the Architect of the Capitol to remove the statues of soldiers and officials who represent the Confederacy.

Pelosi specifically mentioned two prominent Confederates — Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens — who served as president and vice president of the Confederate States of America, respectively, and who were charged with treason against the United States. Stephens’ statue was given by Georgia and Davis’ by Mississippi.

“While I believe it is imperative that we never forget our history lest we repeat it, I also believe that there is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country,” Pelosi wrote.

Harvard Prof. Charles Lieber Indicted for Secret Work with Wuhan University

Breitbart – Former Harvard Professor Charles Lieber was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday over allegations that he maintained an undisclosed financial relationship with the Chinese government by taking a position as a “Strategic Scientist” at the Wuhan University of Technology. The scheme is part of China’s “Thousand Talents” program, which sees to pay western academics to hand over research funded by the government of their home countries.

According to a report by CNBC, former Harvard Professor and Chemistry Department Chair Charles Lieber was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday over allegations that he failed to disclose professional relationships with entities funded by the Chinese government.

Breitbart News reported in January that Lieber had been removed from his Harvard post and arrested on charges that he lied about his connections with the Chinese government. Lieber reported worked with China’s Thousand Talents program, which bribes American academics in exchange for access to taxpayer-funded research.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts on Tuesday claimed that Lieber worked with the Wuhan University of Technology on various scientific programs.

Columbus statues toppled in Richmond, beheaded in Boston

The Hill – Statues of Christopher Columbus were targeted by protesters in Massachusetts and Virginia on Tuesday night in an act of solidarity with indigenous peoples. 

The 8-foot-tall memorial to the explorer in Richmond, Va., was pulled down with ropes and dragged roughly 200 yards to nearby Landing at Foundation Lake, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It was also reportedly briefly lit on fire. 

The base of the statue was covered in graffiti, and protesters held signs reading “This land is Powhatan land” and “Columbus represents genocide.”

A makeshift headstone poster was also placed in front of the sunken statute in the water that read, “Racism. You will not be missed.”

The figure was reportedly the first statue of Columbus erected in the South, according to the newspaper. It was dedicated in December 1927.

The statue’s toppling came after demonstrators in the city were seen marching down Arthur Ashe Boulevard, one of hundreds of demonstrations across the U.S. protesting racial injustice and police brutality following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis late last month.

Protesters in Richmond noted that African Americans and indigenous peoples both face white supremacy and institutionalized racism in the United States since Columbus first arrived on the continent.

Vanessa Bolin, a member of the Richmond Indigenous Society, spoke to the crowd earlier in the night, according to the Times-Dispatch.

“This continent is built on the blood and the bones of our ancestors, but it is built off the backs and the sweat and the tears and the blood and the bones of Africans,” Bolin said. “We’re not here to hijack your movement. We’re here to stand in solidarity.”

Another speaker, Joseph Rogers, referenced genocide committed by white colonizers like Columbus against Native Americans.

“We cannot fight white supremacy without recognizing and uplifting one of its earliest victims on this continent,” Rogers told the crowd.

Virginia Senator Told Police to Stand Down Before Statue Collapse That Left Man in a Coma

Infowars – Virginia Senator Louise Lucas told Portsmouth City police officers to stand down and urged Black Lives Matter protesters to “wreck” a statue that was later toppled and struck a man in the head, leaving him in a coma.

Shocking video footage of the incident shows one of the four bronze soldiers on the Confederate monument being torn down by an angry mob, only to immediately strike a man in the head, leaving his skull split open.

The victim was later named as BLM protester Chris Greene, who remains critically ill in a coma.

It has now emerged that Senator Louise Lucas was responsible for inciting the mob to target the statue.

A video clip shows Senator Lucas wearing a full face covering as she tells the crowd that the police cannot intervene because the monument is on city property.

“This is city property! I’m Louise Lucas! They cannot arrest them because the city owns this property, they been paying for that!” she says. “Come July 1 they can take it down anyway. These police officers cannot arrest them for standing on city property, so I’m gonna stand right here and see what’s gonna happen.”

Lucas then reveals her face to police before continuing.

“This is city property and [Mayor] John Rowe knows it, [City Manager] Dr. Patton knows it. And if they’d have listened to the Vice Mayor and Shannon Glover when they introduced [removing] this [statue] thing to the City Council in the first place they could’ve put a tarp over this thing and all of this would’ve been resolved it wouldn’t even have been necessary. So if the city had done what they were supposed to do these citizens wouldn’t have to do it. So there you go!”

She then openly incites the mob to take down the statue, telling them, “Go ahead wreck it!”

Despite Portsmouth Vice Mayor Lisa Lucas-Burke telling the mob that the city council would be meeting to determine the statue’s fate, almost certainly resulting in its removal, Lucas escalated the situation, asserting, “But this is city property and anybody who pays taxes in this city got a right to be on their property. To hell with city council!”

“That’s alright, the city has had 3 years to cover it, y’all cover it!” she added.

The crowd then shouted “you heard her!” before the statue was targeted later that evening and Greene was left fighting for his life.

The council would have almost certainly decided to remove the statue anyway, but because the mob couldn’t wait a few weeks and wanted to carry out their ritualistic destruction of America’s heritage, a man is now on the verge of death.

NASCAR bans Confederate flags at all races, events

CNN – On Monday, the only full-time African American driver in NASCAR’s Cup Series called for the auto racing body to ban Confederate flags from its events. Two days later, his dream came true.

“The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” NASCAR said in a statement on its website hours ahead of its race Wednesday night in Martinsville, Virginia.

“Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”

This week, driver Bubba Wallace told CNN’s Don Lemon he wanted NASCAR to go further than 2015, when it asked fans not to bring the Confederate flags to races.

Economy & Business

Fidelity Says a Third of Big Institutions Own Crypto Assets

Bloomberg – About a third of large institutional investors own digital assets such as Bitcoin, according to a survey from Fidelity Investments.

Across the U.S. and Europe, 36% of the survey’s 774 respondents said they own cryptocurrencies or derivatives. In the U.S., 27% of institutions — including pension funds, family offices, investment advisers and digital and traditional hedge funds — said they own digital assets, up from 22% about a year ago, when Fidelity surveyed 441 institutions just in the U.S. In Europe, 45% of respondents are invested in digital assets.

Over a quarter of the respondent hold Bitcoin, while 11% hold Ether, the survey found. Bitcoin is up 36% since the beginning of the year, and has rallied as many traditional assets tumbled during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Europe is perhaps more supportive and accommodating,” Tom Jessop, president of Fidelity Digital Assets, said in an interview. That could “be just things going on in Europe right now, you got negative interest rates in many countries. Bitcoin may look more attractive because there are other assets that aren’t paying return.”

Seeing the increased interest, a slew of companies ranging from BitGo to Genesis have been launching new services such as prime brokerages geared toward institutional investors.

he survey was conducted by Greenwich Associates between November 2019 and early March, right before the crypto market crashed and quickly rebounded. Fidelity runs a service for trading and securing digital assets.

“These results confirm a trend we are seeing in the market towards greater interest in and acceptance of digital assets as a new investable asset class,” Jessop said. Fidelity declined to comment on the amount of customer assets or holdings by institutional groups.

The survey found that price volatility was the top concern impeding wider institutional adoption.

Hertz Surges on Plan to Sell $1 Billion Stock in Bankruptcy

Bloomberg – Hertz Global Holdings Inc. is asking a bankruptcy judge to let it take advantage of the quixotic surge in its stock by selling up to $1 billion of new shares.

Stockholders of bankrupt companies typically get wiped out, but after an enormous two-week rally, the car renter envisions offering as many as 246.78 million common shares with help from Jefferies LLC, according to a court filing. Those shares may wind up worthless, too, Hertz said, but in the meantime it would get some much-needed working capital. Judge Mary Walrath set a hearing for Friday to consider the idea.

Hertz’s shares surged as much as 68% shortly after the start of regular trading Friday. Investors are bidding up Hertz and other bankrupt companies on optimism that the economy and specifically air travel is poised to rebound. Hertz might also benefit from prices of used cars at auctions coming all the way back from a mid-April collapse.

“It is incredibly creative and they get props for that, but I wouldn’t buy those shares,” said Nancy Rapoport, a professor at UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law, who said she has never seen a bankruptcy funded this way. “I guess they’re trying to catch whatever the opposite of a falling knife is.”

Hertz based its request to the court on a nearly tenfold increase in its stock from 56 cents on May 26 to $5.53 on Monday. While the stock has slid since then, Hertz said in the filing that a sale of shares still could help cover its debts.

“The recent market prices of and the trading volumes in Hertz’s common stock potentially present a unique opportunity for the debtors to raise capital on terms that are far superior to any debtor-in-possession financing,” the company said, referring to a traditional bankruptcy loan.

A share offering would avoid new interest, fees and restrictions on Hertz’s finances and wouldn’t impose any claims from a bankruptcy loan that would outrank existing creditors, the company said.

Hertz said it would warn any potential buyers that “the common stock could ultimately be worthless.” The company also said it would agree to protect Jefferies against possible lawsuits resulting from the sale.

Some of Hertz’s bonds, which rank well ahead of shares in the bankruptcy repayment line, continue to trade at steep discounts, suggesting a slim chance of any payout for the stock. The company’s 6% notes due 2028 changed hands at 35.75 cents on the dollar Thursday.

Lawyers asked for an emergency ruling “given the volatile state of trading in Hertz’s stock.” Hertz shares changed hands for as much as $3.47 on Friday, up from a close of $2.06 on Thursday. Hertz insiders sold shares during the recent rally, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Hertz disclosed earlier this week that New York Stock Exchange staff had decided to commence proceedings to delist its stock. The company appealed the determination and requested a hearing before the NYSE.

The case is The Hertz Corporation, 20-11218, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

U.S. cannot shut down economy again, Treasury’s Mnuchin says

Reuters – The United States cannot let the coronavirus shut down its economy again, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday, adding that more than $1 trillion in rescue funds will flow into the economy over the next month.

Mnuchin, speaking on CNBC television, said he was prepared to go back to Congress for more money to support the economy, but additional funds would be targeted to sectors with the most need, including hotels, restaurants, travel and entertainment firms.

The Treasury chief, who has been the Trump administration’s point man for negotiating rescue programs, said that he was confident that COVID-19 infection spikes in certain areas could be dealt with due to improvements in testing, contact tracing and ample hospital capacity.

MORE PUMP: Fed ponders what else can do to buoy economy

AFP – With the economy still reeling from the damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Reserve confirmed Wednesday it will keep the benchmark interest rate at zero until the recovery is underway.

At the conclusion of its two-day meeting, members of the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) released economic projections showing they expect the economy to contract by 6.5 percent this year, while unemployment falls to 9.3 percent from its current 13.3 percent.

“The coronavirus outbreak is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world,” the FOMC statement said.

“The ongoing public health crisis will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term,” the central bank warned.

As a result, the FOMC will keep the key rate at zero “until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.”

And the median forecast among FOMC members shows they expect the key rate to stay the same through 2022 at least, before edging back up near 2.5 percent over the longer term — with only two central bankers projecting the rate would rise off zero in that year.

The Fed also said it will continue to work to ensure households and businesses have access to credit by continuing purchases of securities like Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

The central bank already cut rates to zero in March and has been pumping trillions of dollars into the economy — essentially printing money — amid the crisis.

Science & Technology

One blood type may provide some coronavirus protection, study suggests

Fox – Preliminary results from an ongoing study suggest that those with a certain blood type may have some protection against the novel coronavirus.

In April, not long after the pandemic began, the genetic testing firm 23andMe began using its testing services to help scientists better understand how genetics may play a role in why some people who contract the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, develop severe infections, while others present only mild or moderate symptoms or have no symptoms at all.

On Monday, the company released early results from the study, which involved more than 750,000 participants.

“Preliminary data from 23andMe’s ongoing genetic study of COVID-19 appears to lend more evidence for the importance of a person’s blood type — determined by the ABO gene — in differences in the susceptibility to the virus,” the company said in a blog post regarding the findings.

More specifically, type O blood may be protective against the novel virus. In fact, early results indicate that people with type O blood are between 9 and 18 percent less likely to test positive for COVID-19 when compared to the other blood types.

“These findings hold when adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, ethnicity, and co-morbidities,” the company noted, adding that there “appeared to be little differences in susceptibility among the other blood types.”

“There have also been some reports of links between COVID-19, blood clotting, and cardiovascular disease,” Adam Auton, the study’s lead researcher, told Bloomberg. “These reports provided some hints about which genes might be relevant.”

That said, “It’s early days; even with these sample sizes, it might not be enough to find genetic associations,” he added. “We’re not the only group looking at this, and ultimately the scientific community may need to pool their resources to really address questions surrounding the links between genetics and COVID-19.”

Still, the study’s early results are in line with other studies that have looked into how a person’s blood type may play a role in virus susceptibility.

For instance, a study out of China that was published in March also found that those with type O blood may be more resistant to SARS-CoV-2, while those with type A blood might be more at risk.

Former Advisor to Steve Jobs Says Facebook is “Destroying the Very Fabric of Human Relationships”

Infowars – A former advisor to Steve Jobs warns that Facebook is “destroying the very fabric of human relationships” by making its users become addicted to anger.

During a question and answer session at the 2020 CogX conference, Joanna Hoffman was asked about the cult of leadership within Silicon Valley.

“As I look at Facebook, for example, I keep thinking are they really that ignorant or is this motivated by something … darker than what appears?” she said.

Hoffman went on to accuse Facebook of “destroying the very fabric of democracy, destroying the very fabric of human relationships and peddling in an addictive drug called anger.”

“You know it’s just like tobacco, it’s no different than the opioids,” she added. “We know anger is addictive, we know we can attract people to our platform and get engagement if we get them pissed off enough. So therefore what, we should capitalize on that each and every time?”

While Hoffman was talking about Facebook, much of the same charges could be made against Twitter.

Twitter has become a monstrous echo chamber of hysterical nonsense controlled by outrage mobs who abuse the platform to threaten criminal acts as well as intimidating, doxxing and attempting to ruin people’s lives for the sin of holding an alternate opinion.

Much criticism of social media is framed in the context of its “threat to democracy,” despite the fact that both Twitter and Facebook are more censorious than ever, with the overwhelming target being conservatives and anyone who offends woke jihadists.

In reality, the real damage being done by these platforms is to people’s mental health, to the cohesion of a functioning society, and to the concept of free speech itself.

Energy & Environment

Thousands of Tons of Microplastics Are Falling from the Sky

New research helps unravel how vast amounts of plastic particles travel—both regionally and globally—on the wind

SA – Carried by the wind, dust particles from places such as the Sahara Desert can float halfway around the world before settling to the ground. As the plastics discarded by humans break down into tiny pieces in the environment, they, too, drift through the atmosphere. Now scientists are a step closer to understanding how these globe-trotting microplastics travel—both locally and on long-distance flights.

Researchers spent more than a year collecting microplastics from 11 national parks and wilderness areas in the western U.S. They separately examined the particles that settled on dry days and those that fell along with rain or snow. In addition to shedding light on how microplastics move around, the results, published on Thursday in Science, reveal the sheer scale of the problem: more than 1,000 metric tons of microplastics—the weight of 120 million to 300 million plastic water bottles—fall on protected lands in the country’s western region each year. The new findings add to scientists’ concern over microplastic pollution’s potential impacts on the environment and human health. “We’re not supposed to breathe in this material,” says Steve Allen, a microplastics researcher at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, who was not involved in the new study. Plastics in the environment “carry all sorts of pesticides, heavy metals and all the other chemicals that we’ve made over time,” he adds. “They’re going to carry them directly into our lungs.”

Since their discovery in oceans in the 1970s, microplastics—which can be as large as a grain of rice or smaller than a particle of dust—have been found nearly everywhere researchers have looked: in cities, in Arctic snow, on remote mountaintops. Their presence in areas distant from human habitation has pointed to them being borne by winds. Few studies have directly investigated this possibility, however.

The scientists found microplastics in almost every sample they collected. In total, 4 percent of the identifiable dust particles were plastic. Brahney and her colleagues “immediately realized the gravity of what we were seeing,” she says. “That was a moment of being just completely astounded.”

Health

Painful Burns, Begone: 5 Derm-Approved Remedies To Soothe Sunburns

MBG – You’ve likely heard it thousands of times: Practicing safe sun is a nonnegotiable. And while most of the focus zeroes in on preventing sun damage (and rightfully so), sometimes sunburns happen, especially as we enter the throes of a scorching summer. Plus, burns and sun damage come in some obvious and not so obvious ways, too. For fair- and medium-skin-toned individuals, burns can be barely there pink to red, tender to the touch, and feel dry. On darker-toned individuals, skin may feel hot, overly sensitive, or simply itchy. Any skin tone may also experience peeling after the fact.

If you get burned, don’t beat yourself up. Just find yourself a good aprés-sun routine. Here, we’ve named five of the best natural remedies for sunburn relief: skin tested and derm-approved:

  1. Aloe vera 
  2. Oatmeal
  3. Cold compress 
  4. Green tea 
  5. Manuka honey 

Power Mall Product of Interest: Willard Water Topical Aloe Gel – 16 OZ