ZeroHedge – Starting last week multiple journalists published proof that Turkish authorities were actively facilitating refugee and migrant movement toward EU borders after Erdogan began making good on his prior threat to ‘open the gates’ — angry over the unfolding Idlib crisis. This included footage of buses staged in Istanbul and other cities to take thousands to the land border with Greece.
And now Ankara is now openly saying it’s implemented a policy of not only pushing migrants to the border, but ensuring they won’t come back — even after Greece shut its border and has been seen using harsh tactics to keep people from entering in a heightened militarized response.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced Thursday the deployment of 1,000 special operations police officers to ensure migrants can’t return.
Daily Mail – Hong Kong authorities have warned people to avoid kissing their pets, but also to not panic and abandon them after a dog repeatedly tested “weak positive” for coronavirus.
The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said experts unanimously agreed the results suggested the dog had “a low-level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission”.
The Pomeranian’s owner was infected with Covid-19 but the dog itself was not showing symptoms, authorities said.
Medical experts, including from the World Health Organization (WHO), had been investigating the case to determine if the dog was actually infected or had picked it up from a contaminated surface. The WHO has said there is no evidence animals like dogs or cats can be infected with the coronavirus.
“Pet owners need not be overly concerned and under no circumstances should they abandon their pets,” said Hong Kong’s department of agriculture.
Authorities warned pet owners in the city, where 103 people have been infected with Covid-19 and thousands are in self-quarantine, not to panic.
“Pet owners are reminded to adopt good hygiene practices (including hand washing before and after being around or handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing them) and to maintain a clean and hygienic household environment,” the department said.
“People who are sick should restrict contacting animals. If there are any changes in the health condition of the pets, advice from a veterinarian should be sought as soon as possible.”
Business Insider – Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese citizens are reportedly being required to use a smartphone app that tells them whether they should carry on as usual — or report to a medical facility to be quarantined.
The service, called Health Code, is being run by the Chinese government using a platform owned by Ant Financial, sister company to the $500 billion-dollar e-commerce giant Alibaba, according to The New York Times. People can sign up through the Alipay wallet app. Tencent, the Chinese tech giant that owns WeChat, has also reportedly partnered with the government to host a similar health code system on its app.
People using the health code are assigned a QR code along with a color ranking — green means the user is free to travel, while yellow or red means they must be quarantined. The code is based in part on people’s answers to an in-app questionnaire, but little else is known about how people are classified, leading to confusion and fear among those who receive a red code, according to Reuters.
Daily Mail – The Vatican has reported its first case of coronavirus today – days after Pope Francis tested negative for the virus.
The discovery brings the epidemic to the city-state surrounded by Italy, which has confirmed more than 3,800 cases and 148 deaths due to the virus.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the new case was diagnosed on Thursday and that services in Vatican clinics had been suspended in order to deep clean the areas.
Bruni gave no details on whether the person who tested positive was a Vatican employee living in Italy or was among the few clergy and guards who live inside its walls.
Pope Francis himself tested negative for the virus after suffering from a cold last week. Today his official Twitter account said he wishes to ‘express my closeness to those who are ill with the coronavirus’.
The Vatican has also put another official into protective quarantine and shut the doors of its Apostolic Library to guard against the spread of the virus.
MSN – Scientists believe there are at least two different strains of the COVID-19 virus causing illnesses.
A preliminary study conducted at Peking University’s School of Life Sciences and the Institute Pasteur of Shanghai discovered that one strain of coronavirus, type L, accounted for about 70% of the cases in China and is much more aggressive than the other strain, type S, which is milder and is the source of about 30% of the infections.
The coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, and has since spread to dozens of countries, infecting almost 97,000 and killing at least 3,305. Researchers said type L was more common in the “early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan” but began to decrease “after early January 2020.”
“Human intervention may have placed more severe selective pressure on the L type, which might be more aggressive and spread more quickly. On the other hand, the S type, which is evolutionarily older and less aggressive, might have increased in relative frequency due to relatively weaker selective pressure,” the scientists wrote.
The researchers said the S type is thought to be the ancestral strain and that the findings “strongly support an urgent need for further immediate, comprehensive studies that combine genomic data, epidemiological data, and chart records of the clinical symptoms of patients with coronavirus disease 2019.”
The genomes studied were only sourced from China, so it is unclear what strains are most common in other countries or if there have been further mutations.
Cases of the illness in the United States have shot up in recent days. As of Thursday afternoon, there were 162 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.
The Street – The Trump administration won’t not be able to meet its stated goal of having 1 million coronavirus tests available by the end of the week, several U.S. senators said Thursday.
The remarks followed a briefing by Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security.
“There won’t be a million people to get a test by the end of the week,” Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said, according to Bloomberg.“It’s way smaller than that. And still, at this point, it’s still through public health departments.”
The senators said the government was in the process of sending out test kits and people will still need to be trained on how to use them.
“By the end of the week they’re getting them out to the mail,” Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma said, according to Bloomberg. “It’s going to take time to be able to get them, receive them, re-verify them and then be able to put them into use.”
NPR – The Grand Princess cruise ship is in limbo off the California coast after a former passenger became the state’s first known person to die from COVID-19. Health workers say they will now test some current passengers to determine whether they have the respiratory virus.
“We are going to be flying testing kits to the cruise ship, and we are going to be sending those quickly back to the state,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a news conference late Wednesday. “We’ll be able to test very quickly within just a few hours.”
Eleven passengers and 10 crew members were showing symptoms of COVID-19, the governor said, adding that the number “may significantly understate” the presence of the coronavirus on the cruise ship.
Newsom declared a state of emergency in California on Wednesday to help his state cope with its first COVID-19 death and more than 50 confirmed cases overall.
Officials believe the passenger who died, an elderly man, was exposed to the novel coronavirus during a trip from San Francisco to Mexico in the middle of February. Health officials are now tracking down thousands of people who were on the same trip and might have been exposed to the virus.
ABC – Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose is prepping “surge tents” to handle a possible influx of coronavirus cases.
The tan-colored tents are currently erected on the southern border of the hospital’s property, facing Samartian Drive, directly adjacent to the emergency room’s paramedic entrance and the public sidewalk.
The footprint of the two identical structures measures 15 feet by 30 feet and stands about 10 feet tall in the center. Each one is large enough to handle up to six patients at a time while still allowing the minimum “six foot exclusion zone,” the distance health officials say is sufficient to prevent human-to-human transmission of the disease.
“To keep them safe and make sure they are not co-mingling together,” said Mark Brown, Chief Nursing Officer for Good Samaritan Hospital.
The surge tents, which are owned by the hospital, are typically brought out during flu season. But Brown pushed to erect the tents early in light of the steady increase of COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area.
“We’re taking an overabundance of caution to do the right thing, and we feel for our patient population and for our community, this is the best way to serve them,” said Brown.
WSJ – A suburban Seattle school district launched the farthest-reaching school closures in the U.S. Thursday in an attempt to contain the coronavirus, directing more than 23,500 students to stay home for up to two weeks in a last-resort step that districts across the country are considering
NaturalNews – A nursing home located in a Seattle suburb is now at the center of an investigation after four of its residents died from the dreaded coronavirus. In a report by the U.S. Sun, six people — including the four from the nursing home — have already died in Washington state from the new disease.
Families of the patients have described the situation surrounding the nursing home — identified as Life Care Center of Kirkland — as “sort of like a movie about an epidemic in a little town, and they don’t know how to handle the situation.”
The family members, speaking to CBS News, expressed their concern that while their loved ones are currently being isolated in their rooms and their temperatures monitored daily, those who are showing symptoms will not be tested or hospitalized until they become critically ill. Carmen Gray, whose mother Susan Haley is under quarantine at the nursing home, said that she had asked to get her mother tested for the virus but that the center told her that her mother “did not meet the criteria at this time.”
“They’re being held hostage in a petri dish,” she said.
The employee has yet to be identified and worked as a concession worker at the stadium, according to the Seattle Times.
State officials said the infection risk is low for the 22,060 people who attended the game between the Seattle Dragons and the Dallas Renegades on Feb. 22.
“County officials advise that no extra precautions are required for those who attended the Feb. 22 game or who will attend upcoming events, but all King County residents should know that the risk for infection with COVID-19 is increasing in our community, should be aware of their symptoms, and call their health care provider if they develop a cough, fever, or other respiratory problems,” King County officials said in a statement.
Seattle’s professional sports organizations will continue to house their scheduled events, as health officials recommend those at higher risk for the illness [over 60, chronic health condition, weakened immune system, pregnant] stay home and “away form larger groups of people as much as possible.”
The other teams that play in the area include the Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Mariners and the Seattle Seahawks — whose first preseason game is at the stadium in August.
NPR- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ended her bid for the presidency on Thursday, acknowledging her place as the last major female candidate in the race “and all those little girls who are gonna have to wait four more years.”
The decision comes after disappointing finishes in all nominating contests so far, including Super Tuesday. She hasn’t won or come in second in any states — and even finished third in her home state of Massachusetts.
“For every American who desperately wants to see our nation healed and some decency and honor restored to our government, this fight goes on. And sure, the fight may take a new form, but I will be in that fight, and I want you in this fight with me. We will persist,” Warren told campaign staffers after announcing her decision.
Consortium News – No surprise here, says Caitlin Johnstone. This is just the latest move to erase a candidate who challenges bipartisan support for endless wars.
n a CNN panel on Monday, host John King spoke with Politico reporter Alex Thompson about the possibility of Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard qualifying on Super Tuesday for the party’s primary debate in Phoenix later this month.
“I will note this, she’s from Hawaii,” King said of Gabbard. “She’s a congresswoman from Hawaii; American Samoa votes on Super Tuesday. The rules as they now stand, if you get a delegate, you’re back in the debates. As of now. Correct?”
“Yeah, they haven’t, I mean, that’s been the rule for every single debate,” Thompson replied. “And the DNC has not released their official guidance for the March 15 debate in Phoenix, but it would be very obvious that they are trying to cancel Tulsi, who they’re scared of a third party run, if they then change the rules to prevent her to rejoin the debate stage.”
And indeed, as the smoke clears from the Super Tuesday frenzy, this is precisely what appears to have transpired.
Inquirer – A federal judge in the District of Columbia sharply criticized Attorney General William Barr on Thursday for a “lack of candor,” questioning the truthfulness of the nation’s top law enforcement official in his handling of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller III.
U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, overseeing a lawsuit brought by EPIC, a watchdog group, and BuzzFeed News, said he saw serious discrepancies between Barr’s public statements last year about Mueller’s findings and the public, partially redacted version of that report.
Reuters – President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would withhold money from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions after a U.S. court ruled that his administration could block federal law enforcement funds to states and cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
The Republican president, who is seeking re-election in the Nov. 3 election, has taken a hardline stance toward legal and illegal immigration. His battle against Democratic-led “sanctuary” jurisdictions focuses on laws and policies that limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
Cities and states that oppose such cooperation say it can discourage immigrants from coming forward to report crimes to law enforcement because of fears about their immigration status.
CBS – A trove of Spanish coins dating back to a 1715 shipwreck during a storm have been found along a beach in Florida. CBS affiliate WPEC-TV reported that 43-year-old treasure hunter Jonah Martinez located the coins using a metal detector. He was able to dig out 22 silver coins he estimates are worth about $6,000.
Twelve Spanish galleons laden with treasures from the New World were bound for Spain on July 31, 1715, but 11 were lost during a hurricane off the coast of Florida. Most of the treasure lies beneath the ocean.
Martinez has been waving his metal detector across the shoreline in South Florida for the past 24 years. He said he has no intent to sell or polish the coins but will keep them with others of his other historic finds.
“This is our history out here,” he told WPEC. “We are not trying to profit out here, we are just collecting pieces of history. That’s cool if you ask me.”
Florida law requires recovery permits for individuals who want to explore or recover artifacts on state-owned lands underwater, but not on a public beach.
Fox – Newly released statistics show a big jump in crime last month compared to a year ago.
The NYPD says major crimes grew 22.5% in February compared to the same month last year including a 7.1% increase in shootings. Robbery, assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny auto crimes all saw increases.
The only positive statistic related to murders, which were down 20%. Only 20 people were killed in New York City in February according to the NYPD.
Police officials blame criminal justice reforms for the uptick in crime
NBC – Harvey Weinstein is being moved from a hospital to jail ahead of his sentencing next week on rape and sex-act convictions, sources close to the fallen Hollywood producer said Thursday.
The sources confirm Weinstein is being moved to the Rikers North Infirmary Unit from Bellevue. Those sources believe he will be put in protective custody in a “dorm cell” setting with round-the-clock supervision and medical supervision as needed.
ABC – Local officials were irate Thursday over the arrest by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents of an individual as he entered a San Francisco courthouse for a hearing in violation of the city’s sanctuary law.
Both the San Francisco Public Defender and the District Attorney condemned the action on the steps of the courthouse on 850 Bryant St., and called on ICE to stop making courthouse arrests. Immigration rights advocates said it was the first time this type of courthouse immigration enforcement has occurred in San Francisco.
RT – US President Donald Trump has authorized $8.3 billion in emergency spending to fight the coronavirus epidemic after admitting he “liked” that the virus was forcing Americans to stay home and spend their money in the US.
The emergency aid bill Trump signed on Friday dispatched more than three times the $2.5 billion he had originally requested last month from Congress to fight the epidemic. The money will be spent on pharmaceutical research, containment and control efforts, foreign and domestic, and loans to businesses adversely affected by the crisis.
NaturalNews – The World Bank on Tuesday has committed $12 billion in aid to help countries with the health and economic impacts of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The emergency aid package will include low-cost loans, grants and technical assistance, and is designed to provide a fast and reliable response for developing countries, especially those that are most risk from the coronavirus spread. In a statement, the World Bank said that the poorest and most at-risk countries will be prioritized in distributing the aid.
“Through this new fast track package, the World Bank Group will help developing countries strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to safeguard people from the epidemic, strengthen disease surveillance, bolster public health interventions, and work with the private sector to reduce the impact on economies,” the organization added. “This financing is designed to help member countries take effective action to respond to and, where possible, lessen the tragic impacts posed by the COVID-19.”
Most of the $12 billion aid package will either come from previously available funds, or will come from the bank’s International Finance Corporation, a global development institution under the World Bank that works with the private sector to create markets in developing countries.
The World Bank has identified the countries that are most vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak, including Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the Philippines, given their weak health systems, limited financial resources and close economic ties with China.
Bloomberg – Treasury yields plummeted to record lows Friday as concern about the global economic and financial impact of the coronavirus spurred demand for havens and traders amped up bets on further central bank easing this month.
U.S. securities rallied, led by longer-dated notes, while other refuge assets also gained. The yen at one point climbed more than 1% to around 105 per dollar, while bund yields became even more deeply negative. A stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report failed to significantly shift the pessimistic tone and traders now expect a half-point cut from the Federal Reserve this month.
“What we are seeing is symptomatic of not enough positive yielding, defensive assets within global fixed income,” said John Taylor, a money manager at AllianceBernstein. “Central banks are doing everything they can to provide stimulus, which can add fuel to the flames of the bond rally.”
The moves came as stocks around the world plunged and futures pointed to another day of losses in U.S. equities. The number of coronavirus cases globally approached 100,000, as more infections were reported in the U.S., Germany and South Korea. Singapore warned of a global pandemic and Britain’s chief scientific adviser said a vaccine could take as long as 18 months to develop.
The Week – Mounting concern over the new coronavirus outbreak has caused school closures and movie premiere pushbacks, and now the crisis’ effect on the aviation industry is drawing comparisons to 9/11.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told CNBC on Thursday that the company has lost several hundred million dollars in a week’s time thanks to a decline in bookings amid increasing fears over COVID-19. Kelly added that the drop-off was “noticeable” and “precipitous” and has continued declining on a daily basis.
When prompted by CNBC’s Phil LeBeau over whether the drop was reminiscent of former dips in demand spurred by the 2003 SARS outbreak or the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Kelly said the new coronavirus outbreak was more like the latter.
“It has a 9/11-like feel,” Kelly said.
He explained that post-9/11 travel fallout was motivated by “fear” rather than being economically driven, saying fear is “really what’s manifested this time” with the new coronavirus outbreak.
Kelly told LeBeau he thought the dip in bookings was an “overreaction” but that Southwest is financially prepared to handle the fallout.
ABC – Reusable cups are in vogue for reducing waste but are no longer welcome at Starbucks cafes over fears of the coronavirus, the coffee chain announced.
“We are pausing the use of personal cups and ‘for here’ ware in our stores,” executive vice president Rossann Williams said in a statement Wednesday, adding that Starbucks would honor their 10-cent discounts for customers who arrive with their own cup even if they won’t fill it.
In 2018, 1.3 percent of customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Africa were served drinks in cups they brought along, the company said in its annual report.
Starbucks told AFP that the decision to ban reusable cups was made over concerns for “health and well-being,” and the company is “optimistic this will be a temporary situation.”
ABC – The world’s first cloned cat named “Copy Cat” or “CC” for short, has passed away at the age of 18 after veterinarians diagnosed her with kidney failure.
CC passed away on March 3 in College Station, the same place where her life began as a result of groundbreaking cloning work, according to Megan Myers, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
She was born Dec. 22, 2001, and was adopted by Dr. Duane Kraemer, a senior professor in the college’s Reproduction Sciences Laboratory, and his wife, Shirley, six months after her birth.
“We in the CVM are saddened by the passing of CC. As the first cloned cat, CC advanced science by helping all in the scientific community understand that cloning can be effective in producing a healthy animal,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King dean of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M.
“While she lived a long, normal, and happy life, CC was extraordinary in what she represented to the Kraemers, the CVM, and science as a whole,” Green said. “The entire CVM community mourns her loss, as all at Texas A&M cared deeply about her as a member of the Aggie family, and especially for the Kraemers, for whom CC was a beloved pet for 18 years.”
CC’s story began with Dr. Mark Westhusin, a CVM professor and the principal investigator of the Missyplicity Project, a $3.7 million effort to clone a mixed-breed dog named Missy that was owned by John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix.
When the news of the project spread, people around the country became interested in saving pets’ tissues that could possibly be used for cloning in the future. This demand resulted in the establishment of Genetic Savings and Clone (GSC), Inc., led by Sperling’s colleagues Lou Hawthorne and Dr. Charles Long.
While GSC became a bank for these tissues, Westhusin and his team at Texas A&M began to explore the cloning of other pet species, specifically cats.
CC was produced using nuclear transfer of DNA from cells that were derived from a female domestic shorthair named Rainbow.
WSJ – Facebook Inc. removed Trump campaign ads that referred to a census, saying they violated a company policy aimed at preventing disinformation and other interference with the nationwide 2020 census, which goes online next week.
Protocol – U.S. law enforcement agencies signed millions of dollars worth of contracts with a Virginia company after it rolled out a powerful tool that uses data from popular mobile apps to track the movement of people’s cell phones, according to federal contracting records and six people familiar with the software.
The product, called Locate X and sold by Babel Street, allows investigators to draw a digital fence around an address or area, pinpoint mobile devices that were within that area, and see where else those devices have traveled, going back months, the sources told Protocol.
They said the tool tracks the location of devices anonymously, using data that popular cell phone apps collect to enable features like mapping or targeted ads, or simply to sell it on to data brokers.
NaturalNews – Perhaps you’ve noticed that the Trump administration is still telling the American people that all is well, and not to worry or really do anything in response to the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19) crisis other than to just wait for spring when the president believes that the novel disease will somehow vanish on its own. But is this really the wisest approach to an ever-evolving situation with global economic and public health ramifications?
In this age of economic interdependence and just-in-time supply chains, our answer to that question is a resounding no. Dare we say that it would be patently foolish to just sit around and hope for the best, especially as big-box stores in certain areas of the country are already experiencing panic buying and associated supply shortages.
Dr. James Lyons-Weiler, PhD, recently published a report on his website highlighting some little-known facts about the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19) of which you may not be aware. Included in this report is a roundup of some known nutritional and supplemental remedies that could help you and your family stay safe from this growing pandemic.
According to Dr. Theron Hutton, MD, N-acetyl cysteine, selenium, spirulina, and high-dose glucosamine are all supplements of natural origin that have been scientifically shown to provide protection against RNA viruses like influenza and coronavirus.
NaturalNews – The foods that you eat have a huge impact on your health. While some can serve as natural remedies, others can be the cause of a disease. For instance, processed foods, which are laden with added sugar, unhealthy fats and simple carbs, are linked to many chronic diseases, including colon cancer. On the other hand, superfoods like high-fiber fruits and vegetables have powerful components that help stop the development of these diseases. One example of a superfood that help fight cancer is onion.
According to a study published in the journal OncoTargets and Therapy, onions contain flavonoids that can stop the growth of colorectal cancer cells. Flavonoids are naturally occurring plant pigments that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities inside the human body. The study also revealed that the flavonoids in onion extracts are just as effective as the chemotherapy drug capecitabine.
Today, scientific evidence supports the use of onions as an anti-fungal, an antibacterial, a blood sugar regulator and an anti-cancer agent. In fact, as early as 2006, researchers from the University of Milan have established the protective role of onions and other Allium vegetables against several types of cancer.
In their study, they looked at the relationship between onion and garlic consumption and the risk of cancers in the esophagus, oral cavity, larynx, breast, ovaries, prostate and kidneys. Using a large data set from southern European populations, the researchers found that those who frequently ate onions and garlic had a considerably lower risk than people who seldom ate those vegetables.
Even those who ate onions and garlic with moderate frequency fared better than those who rarely did. The researchers noted that their findings aligned with those previously reported by studies from China, where people regularly ate Allium vegetables as part of their daily diet.
Ars Technica – As we all know, smokers continue to smell of smoke long after they’ve finished their last cigarette. But it’s not just a smell; this “third-hand smoke” has many of the harmful substances in cigarette smoke, and it lingers on clothes, bodies, and surfaces. Now we’ve confirmed that smokers can bring third-hand smoke into smoke-free environments with them.
A paper in Science Advances this week reports finding third-hand smoke in a cinema that has been smoke-free for 15 years. Every time a new audience filed into the cinema, chemist Roger Sheu and his colleagues detected a sharp spike in tobacco-related pollutants. They estimate that the audiences were exposed to the equivalent of between one and 10 cigarettes’ worth of second-hand smoke.