CNN – With almost a fifth of its recession-battered economy dependent on tourism, Greece wants to start receiving foreign tourists in just a few weeks, according to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who says the country can take pride in its apparent success in tackling coronavirus.
BBC – Any lifting of restrictions in England is expected to be very limited, as Scotland extends its lockdown.
Breitbart – The Chinese embassy to Canada on Monday claimed that a minor “contractual” issue caused a million Chinese N95 masks exported to Canada last month to be defective and useless.
The Chinese claimed the contractual issue has been addressed. Canadian officials were literally left speechless by the embassy’s breezy statement.
The huge shipment of masks in question was rejected by inspectors from the Canadian Health Ministry in the last week of April because they did not meet filtration standards.
The masks were actually built to the KN95 standard, a Chinese designation considered substandard by the United States but normally accepted as a substitute for N95 masks in Canada. The Health Ministry said the million masks it rejected were “non-compliant with specifications for health care settings” but might be usable for other purposes.
Chinese suppliers promised to replace the million defective masks and Canadian purchases of Chinese equipment continued on a massive scale, at tremendously inflated prices due to heavy global demand.
A few days before the defective mask shipment arrived in Canada, two Canadian cargo planes that were supposed to pick up medical equipment in China were bizarrely turned away because, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the airport in Shanghai would not allow them to remain on the ground long enough to load their cargo. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Trudeau’s account was “inaccurate” but offered no alternative explanation.
Not long before that, the city of Toronto recalled 60,000 Chinese surgical masks because they were so poorly made that they ripped apart when healthcare workers tried to use them.
Breitbart – Despite the continuing coronavirus outbreak, Italy has seen a surge in migrants at its northern border and on the island of Lampedusa, which is becoming overwhelmed, authorities say.
Lampedusa saw at least 200 migrants arrive in two days, with three landings taking place in the span of just a few hours between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Reuters – The Israeli parliament formally nominated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday to form a new coalition government despite his upcoming trial on corruption charges, bringing him closer to a fifth term after more than a year of political stalemate.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
CNN – The Trump administration will not implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 17-page draft recommendation for reopening America, a senior CDC official confirmed to CNN Thursday.
The guidance provided more detailed suggestions beyond the reopening guidelines the administration had put forth last month, including specific suggestions for schools and churches. President Donald Trump in recent days has emphasized the need to quickly reopen the American economy despite public health officials’ urgings for a more cautious approach.
A senior CDC official confirmed to CNN Wednesday night that it was clear that the White House was not going to implement their 17-page draft recommendation for reopening America — after it asked for it. The White House’s decision to not use the guidance was first reported by The Associated Press.
“We are used to dealing with a White House that asks for things and then chaos ensues. A team of people at the CDC spent innumerable hours in response to an ask from Debbie Birx,” said the source.
“The 17-page report represents an ask from the White House Task Force to come up with these recommendations. That’s our role. To put together this guidance.”
A task force official told CNN that Trump’s guidelines announced in mid-April for reopening the country “made clear that each state should open up in a safe and responsible way based on the data and response efforts in those individual states.”
An administration official told CNN that CDC leadership had not seen the draft document before it was leaked, and there were two concerns when it reached the task force. It was “overly prescriptive” because “guidance in rural Tennessee shouldn’t be the same guidance for urban New York City,” and the recommendations in the document did not fit the “phases” that had already been outlined by the task force.
The task force asked for the document to be sent back to the CDC for revisions, which weren’t returned. The administration official didn’t know whether there was a decision at CDC level to shelve the idea.
A senior administration official added that the draft document was the subject of heated internal debate, but ultimately, members of the task force felt it was too specific and might not be helpful as nationwide guidance.
Al Jazeera – US President Donald Trump on Wednesday called the coronavirus pandemic the worst “attack” the country had ever experienced and blamed China for not stopping it, amid a deepening war of words between the United States and China over the virus.
“This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center,” Trump said at a White House event, referring to the Japanese bombing of the US airbase that brought the Americans into the second world war and the September 11 attacks.
“It should have never happened,” Trump continued. “It could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped in China. It should have been stopped right at the source, and it wasn’t.”
Free Thought Project – Last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made headlines with a blunder of epic proportions. According to a report by the Food and Drug Administration, two of the three CDC laboratories in Atlanta that created the coronavirus test kits violated their own manufacturing standards, resulting in the agency sending tests that did not work to nearly all of the 100 state and local public health labs. What’s more, the CDC was found to be sending out tests contaminated with the actual virus.
Testing for COVID-19 has been notoriously suspect and embroiled in controversy since the beginning and the more information that comes out, the more controversial it gets.
Another can of gas on the dumpster fire that is the COVID-19 response is the fact that many tests have been giving false negative and false positive results. A man in Georgia tested both positive and negative for the coronavirus just four hours apart.
Economy & Business
Coronavirus Infections At Processing Plants Already Leading To Shortages Of Meat At Grocery Stores AND Fast Food Restaurants
NaturalNews – As more workers test positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in meat plants across America, production has been slow even as some facilities reopen; this has resulted in a shortage that has some grocers rationing supplies.
The shortage has also caused prices for beef and pork to jump by more than 20 percent, even after President Donald Trump’s historic order to keep the plants running during the pandemic. These challenges underscore just how difficult it is to quickly fix America’s broken meat supply chain.
RT – Oil could hit $100 per barrel within the next 18 months, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris told CNBC on Wednesday—a hard pill to swallow with Brent currently trading below $30 per barrel.
Sawiris, chairman of one of Egypt’s largest companies, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding S.A.E., is Egypt’s second-richest man and has a net worth somewhere between $3 billion and $7.5 billion. It’s hard to pin down because net worth is a (downward) moving target these days.
Sawiris told CNBC that he would buy airline stocks. At the same time, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway dumped all of its airline holdings after losing nearly $50 billion in Q1. The selloff hit the airlines hard.
Sawiris not only talked up investing in oil, which he said could reach $100 per barrel but spoke out to CNBC against Saudi Arabia and Russia, who Sawiris alleges were trying to kill off the US shale industry. Sawiris also told the network that he supported US President Donald Trump’s plan to reopen the American economy.
RT – The coronavirus pandemic is set to plunge the British economy into one of the deepest recessions ever, shaving 14 percent off the country’s gross domestic product, according to a Bank of England forecast.
The central bank said that the coronavirus outbreak has led to an “unprecedented” situation for the global economy. Evaluating the toll the crisis is set to take on the UK, the bank said that apart from a sharp fall in GDP over the first half of the year, it will also result in a “substantial” hike in unemployment.
BBC – Data shows more than 15% of the US workforce is now claiming unemployment benefit.
Infowars – Peter Nilsson, a professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at Lund University, warns that the economic devastation caused by lockdowns will cause more deaths than the coronavirus itself.
Nilsson was commenting on Sweden’s approach to coronavirus, which unlike virtually every other western country in the world didn’t impose a lockdown to fight COVID-19.
The tactic appears to have worked, with Sweden’s ‘R’ rate of infection being roughly the same as the UK’s, a country which did impose a lockdown. The country also now has much more widespread herd immunity and didn’t sacrifice its economy, meaning deaths from poverty will be reduced.
Opining that he thinks this will “prove to be a good strategy in the long run,” Professor Nilsson said the approach had succeeded in preventing a spike in unemployment.
“It’s so important to understand that the deaths of COVID-19 will be far less than the deaths caused by societal lockdown when the economy is ruined,” said Nilsson.
“Why? Because of unemployment and all the social problems with it. A bad economy will hurt and kill people in the future.”
Infowars – Senator Rand Paul has called for the economy to be reopened, saying that it is the only solution for recovery.
Appearing on Fox News, a bearded Paul said that Americans need to be allowed to go back to work imminently or there will “continue to be economic calamity.”
“To people [who] ask me I remind them that we have no money,” Paul urged.
“We have no rainy day account. We have no savings account. The $3 trillion that we’ve already passed out is imaginary money.” The Senator said, referring to the already staggering national debt.
“It’s being borrowed basically from China. So, the irony is we got the virus from China, and now we are going to be more dependent by borrowing more money from China.” Paul stressed.
“The only thing that recovers our economy is opening the economy.” Paul asserted.
The Senator urged that Americans need to be released from “forcible home arrest” if any recovery is going to stand a chance.
Toronto News – Every few days Nicolette Novak is paralyzed with worry about how to keep her winery going during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Novak is the owner of Good Earth Food and Wine Co., a small winery in Beamsville, Ont., that includes a bistro and offers cooking classes on site. But, like most wineries in the province, government restrictions designed to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus have virtually crippled all aspects of Good Earth’s business.
“I’m a pretty strong person, but in the last few weeks I’ve hit the wall a few times where I thought to myself, ‘I don’t think I can do this anymore,”‘ said Novak. “I don’t know how much longer I can hold on, and not know when I’m going to open and try and keep optimistic.”
The winemaking business sits at an intersection of agriculture, retail, wholesale, exporting, and hospitality sectors, which makes it particularly vulnerable during Ontario’s ongoing state of emergency.
Novak says that smaller wineries, like Good Earth, are most affected when it comes to sales.
She has had to cancel all of her cooking classes and the restaurant’s business has dropped off sharply. Although curbside pickup is permitted under Ontario’s restrictions, by their very nature wineries are in sparsely populated rural area where there are few people around to order takeout.
Novak says the wholesale side of the winery business has also been affected, since restaurants aren’t going through cases of wine as quickly as they once did.
“There are colleagues of mine whose big chunk of their business is direct licensee sale to a restaurant, but the restaurants are closing and there’s dubiousness around whether any of those restaurants are reopening,” said Novak. “That’s a problem in terms of collections — will they get paid? — and obviously, the market is gone.”
Energy & Environment
Daily Mail – Incredible photos have revealed the final resting place of massive wind turbine blades that cannot be recycled, and are instead heaped up in piles in landfills.
The municipal landfill in Casper, Wyoming, is the repository of at least 870 discarded blades, and one of the few locations in the country that accepts the massive fiberglass objects.
Built to withstand hurricane winds, the turbine blades cannot easily be crushed or recycled. About 8,000 of the blades are decommissioned in the U.S. every year.
Once they reach the end of their useful life on electricity-generating wind turbines, the blades have to be hacked up with industrial saws into pieces small enough to fit on a flat-bed trailer and hauled to a landfill that accepts them.
In addition to the landfill in Casper, landfills in Lake Mills, Iowa and Sioux Falls, South Dakota accept the discarded blades – but few other facilities have the kind of open space needed to bury the massive blades.
Once they are in the ground, the blades will remain there essentially forever – they do not degrade or break down over time.
‘The wind turbine blade will be there, ultimately, forever,’ Bob Cappadona, chief operating officer for the North American unit of Paris-based Veolia Environnement SA, told Bloomberg in February.
Veolia is searching for better ways to deal with the massive waste generated by the discarded blades.
‘Most landfills are considered a dry tomb,’ Cappadona said. ‘The last thing we want to do is create even more environmental challenges.’
Science & Technology
Mind Body Green – This month’s full moon will be peaking in skies near you at approximately 6:45 a.m. (EDT) on May 7. While full moons are always a powerful time to check in with yourself and your goals, this one is extra special because it’s also the third and final supermoon of the year. Here’s what to know about May’s super Flower Moon.
Newsmax – People suffering from regular migraines despite medication might consider investing in a yoga mat.
That’s according to a new trial that tested the effects of a gentle yoga practice — with slow-paced physical postures, breathing exercises and relaxation. Researchers found that people who added the practice to their usual migraine medication suffered about half as many headache attacks as they normally did.
In contrast, study patients who stuck with medication alone saw only a small decline in migraine flare-ups.
The findings appear in the May 6 online issue of the journal Neurology.
Mercola – What makes chili peppers unique is capsaicin, the ingredient that gives them their spicy flavor, as well as their unique health benefits.
If you’re looking to add capsaicin to your diet, chili peppers are your best source. The only exception to this food group is the bell pepper, which has no capsaicin.
To gain the health benefits of this compound, you need to buy real chili peppers that will give your food that distinctive spicy flavor.
Capsaicin, the source of peppers’ spiciness, has been studied comprehensively, and you may be surprised at what it can do. The following are prominent examples:
Pain Relief — As mentioned previously, capsaicin may help relieve pain by exhausting your body’s supply of substance P, a chemical found in your nerve cells that plays a role in transmitting pain signals to your brain. In one study, heartburn sufferers were given 2.5 grams of red chili peppers per day. They noted that at the beginning of the treatment, pain slightly worsened, but gradually improved over time.
- Weight Management — Spicy foods, quite literally, can help burn fat and help you lose weight. In a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, participants were given 10 grams of red pepper during a meal.
After eating, the researchers monitored the participants’ energy expenditure and learned that chili peppers increased it after consumption.It is believed that your body can burn an extra 50 calories per day if you consume capsaicin regularly.’
- Reduce Hunger — Several studies have shown that capsaicin may help reduce hunger, helping prevent overeating and excess weight gain. According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, capsaicin works by reducing the production of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for triggering hunger.
- Blood Pressure Maintenance — Capsaicin may help promote long-term heart health. According to one study, mice affected with high blood pressure experienced relief after they consumed food mixed with capsaicin. The researchers went on to suggest that capsaicin activates the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), which contributes to vasorelaxation and lowered blood pressure.
- Boost Digestive Health — Aside from reducing hunger, capsaicin may help promote a well-functioning digestive tract. One study found that it enhanced the buffering component of gastric secretory responses and gastric emptying, as well as prevention of gastric mucosal damage from ethanol-based beverages.
Another study suggested that capsaicin can help promote the healing of gastric ulcers by inhibiting acid secretion, as well as stimulating alkali and mucus production and gastric blood flow.
- May Lower the Risk of Cancer — Capsaicin may have the ability to fight against cancer by attacking pathways in the growth of cancer cells. In a related study, capsaicin has been shown to induce apoptosis in prostate23 and in another study, breast cancer cells were tested.
Mercola – A diet of ultraprocessed food makes people more susceptible to COVID-19 by causing metabolic dysfunction and harm to the immune system.
Ultraprocessed food increases the risk of obesity, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and gallstones and compromises the gut microbiome.
Ultraprocessed food increases how fast people eat and delays how full they feel.
Food giants have targeted those with low incomes with aggressive marketing of ultraprocessed food, causing disproportionate health problems in some communities.
Ultraprocessed food relies on environmentally destructive monocrop farming, concentrated animal feeding operations, fertilizers and pesticides