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Today’s News: May 14, 2020

World News

Confirmed: China pressured WHO not to declare coronavirus emergency

Daily Caller – China pressured the World Health Organization (WHO) against declaring the coronavirus pandemic a global health emergency, a senior U.S. intelligence official told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

That official’s account confirms aspects of Newsweek’s reporting, which cited a CIA report stating that China urged the WHO not to declare the pandemic a global health emergency.

The WHO, the health arm of the United Nations, was supposed to decide on Jan. 22 whether to declare a global health emergency, but WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus ended up delaying the decision until the next day.

In his statement announcing the delay, Tedros praised “the cooperation of China’s Minister of Health, who I have spoken with directly during the last few days and weeks.”

“The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence,” Tedros added.

The next day, the WHO opted not to declare a global health emergency. “I am not declaring a public health emergency of international concern today,” Tedros, who won his position in 2017 with China’s backing, said on Jan. 23.

“As it was yesterday, the Emergency Committee was divided over whether the outbreak of novel coronavirus represents a PHEIC or not,” he continued. “Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.”

The WHO didn’t declare a global health emergency until Jan. 31.


Hungary Joins Countries In The War On Fake News Reducing Citizens’ Free Speech Online

Activist Post – Hungarian authorities are using crisis powers to begin arresting citizens for allegedly spreading fake news related to the CV pandemic as ordered by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Bloomberg reports:

The government changed the criminal code to allow authorities to jail people for up to five years for “distorting” facts in a way that’s deemed to hamper the virus fight. The amendment accompanied legislation that gave Orban the right to rule by decree for an indefinite period, which has raised alarm about the future of Hungarian democracy.

Since the law’s approval in late March, authorities have started 86 criminal probes for alleged scaremongering, according to official data. The opposition Momentum party said that one of its supporters had been briefly detained Wednesday after a Facebook post sharing details about an anti-government protest.

Coronavirus Sanofi: France resists idea of US getting vaccine first

BBC – France has said it would be “unacceptable” for French drug giant Sanofi to prioritise the US market if it develops a Covid-19 vaccine.

The government was reacting to remarks by Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson, who said “the US government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk”.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said access for all was “non-negotiable”.

Many labs worldwide are involved in research to find a Covid-19 vaccine.

Vaccines usually take years to develop.

“For us, it would be unacceptable for there to be privileged access to such and such a country for financial reasons,” Deputy Finance Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher told France’s Sud Radio.

The prime minister later tweeted that a vaccine should be for the benefit of everyone worldwide. President Emmanuel Macron said that recent efforts proved that a vaccine should not be subject to market forces, the Elysée Palace said. He is due to meet top Sanofi officials next week.

Why Does Brazil’s Bolsonaro Refuse To Lock Down His Country’s Economy

Mises Wire – When reports regarding COVID-19 illnesses began to surface, media outlets initially downplayed the risks. But they soon followed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) claims that the virus was more serious than the seasonal flu and that a high volume of cases could prove burdensome to healthcare systems, and governments around the globe scrambled to keep the virus from spreading rapidly.

Embracing ineffective lockdowns, world leaders issued stay-at-home directives and ordered many businesses to close their doors.

In America, we watched as some state governors quickly adopted policies that produced arrests, protests, and mass unemployment. In Brazil, under the leadership of Jair Messias Bolsonaro, a former congressman dubbed the “Trump of the Tropics,” state governors followed in American governors’ footsteps, shutting down businesses and violently arresting anyone who dared to serve their customers.

Bolsonaro protested.

In TV appearances and media briefings, the president, who was often condemned for not wearing his face mask properly, repeated that the virus wasn’t that bad.

Many will catch it [coronavirus] whether or not they are careful. That will happen sooner or later,” he told the media. “We must respect it, take personal hygiene seriously, but we can’t be neurotic about it, as if it [this crisis] were the end of the world.

There are many governors, in my view, who are taking measures that will harm our economy a lot. Life goes on, we cannot be hysterical.

In an attempt to persuade governors to change course, Bolsonaro’s office launched a campaign entitled Brazil Can’t Stop, but his efforts didn’t go far, as the Brazilian supreme court (the Supreme Federal Court) ordered the campaign to end.

Shortly after, US media called for Bolsonaro’s impeachment.

Beginning of the End of German Support for NATO

Global Research – Make way for the Greens and the Leftists. They do not want US nuclear weapons on German soil.

Angela Merkel will soon be gone. The next German coalition already shares new ideas in many areas including NATO.

Three Consequences

  1. Germany will cease its nuclear sharing agreement with the US.
  2. It will ask the US to remove its nuclear weapons from German soil.
  3. Germany will abandon plans to purchase US military equipment such as the F/A-18 Hornet.

Justyna Gotkowska from the OSW think tank in Warsaw, laments in a Twitter Thread that Germany may soon abandon a key pillar of its NATO defence policy.

Eurointelligence picked up on the thread in its report Will Germany cease to host US nuclear weapons on its soil?

Gotkowska argues that it is highly probable that Germany will end its participation in the nuclear sharing programme within ten years. While the government itself, including the SPD leadership, is committed to it, the programme is not supported by the rank-and-file of the SPD. We would add that it is not supported by the Greens either.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

$3 trillion Dem bill would grant amnesty to illegal aliens!

WND – What would be bought with the $3 trillion Democrats are proposing in yet another massive coronavirus stimulus bill?

For one thing, amnesty until the end of the coronavirus for millions of illegal aliens who have “essential” jobs.

And the distribution of $1,200 stimulus checks people in the country illegally.

Along with huge tax breaks for the millionaire and billionaire classes in the Democratic Party.

And much more, points out Fox News host Tucker Carlson

He said the amnesty plan would create a massive new constituency for Democrats, a virtual “blank amnesty” that “will never be taken away.”

The result, he warned, would be a permanent majority for Democrats, who “will win every presidential election for the rest of your life, for the rest of your children’s lives and the rest of your grandchildren’s lives.

That’s the point of the Democrats’ plan, he said.

GOP Rep. Rogers: Pelosi $3 Trillion Bill About ‘Keeping Her Position’ — ‘Silliness,’ ‘Socialist Propaganda’

Breitbart – The odds the House Democrats’ proposal of $3 trillion in additional funding for projects deemed to be coronavirus-related unveiled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) earlier this week ever becomes law are slim to none. Some have speculated Pelosi’s motivations are political, which according to Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), is the case but it is not necessarily tied to election politics.

During an interview that aired on Huntsville, AL radio’s WVNN on Wednesday, Rogers, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said Pelosi’s purpose was likely self-preservation.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Sees 1/7 of NY’s Nursing Home Deaths After Banning Coronavirus Patients’ Entry

Breitbart – At around the time New York’s state health department under Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a directive prohibiting nursing homes from testing recovering coronavirus patients prior to admission, Florida under Gov. Ron DeSantis issued its own executive order strictly regulating incoming patients to protect those facilities from the epidemic.

About a month and a half later, the differences are staggering. The latest tallies show that in Florida 745 residents and staff at long-term care facilities across the state have died from coronavirus although the numbers continue to rise in the state and nationwide. This compared to New York’s 5,300 dead in nursing homes.

Appeals court lets emoluments lawsuit against Trump proceed

CNN – An appeals court Thursday morning rejected an attempt by President Donald Trump to stop an emoluments lawsuit challenging his ownership of a hotel in Washington, DC.

The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 9-6 ruling, decided the emoluments case on Thursday morning against the President, keeping it alive in trial court and reopening the possibility state officials can access his business records.

It is a major ongoing challenge to Trump and his business empire, where DC and Maryland attorneys general have claimed the Trump International Hotel has an unfair competitive advantage and have attempted to subpoena his company’s records.

NY Times Worries Half of Americans Will Refuse to Take Coronavirus Vaccine

Infowars – The New York Times has published an article by popular author Kevin Roose in which he expresses his concern that half of Americans would refuse to take a coronavirus vaccine.

The vaccine, if it ever gets produced since there has never been one for any coronavirus including SARS, is likely to take 12-24 months according to experts.

In his article entitled What if we get a Covid-19 vaccine and half the country refuses to take it?, Roose laments the popularity of an anti-vaxxer video called Plandemic, which despite being censored numerous times by every major social media network has still been seen by millions of people.

Roose says that the urgency with which a vaccine will need to be produced will allow anti-vaxxers to claim it’s unsafe.

Economy & Business

Stocks drop for third day as recovery hopes falter

Reuters – World stock markets fell for a third day on Thursday and safe-haven bonds rose as disappointing U.S. jobs data and signals by central banks that further government stimulus may be needed stoked investor concerns about the global economic recovery.

Almost half of UK firms could run out of money within six months

Guardian – Almost half of UK businesses are within six months of running out of cash, despite the lifeline provided by the government’s furlough scheme, according to the latest official snapshot of how firms are faring.

In its fortnightly survey on the economic impact of Covid-19, the Office for National Statistics found 44% of firms that responded said their reserves would last for less than six months.

Almost a quarter of businesses (24%) said they were not sure how long their cash reserves would last and 4% said they had no spare cash at all. About 27% said they had cash that would last beyond six months.

Another 3 million Americans file for unemployment benefits

CNN – Millions of Americans are relying on unemployment benefits for their livelihoods after losing their jobs to the coronavirus crisis.

Another 3 million people filed initial unemployment claims last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Department of Labor.

That brings the total number of first-time claimants to 36.5 million since mid-March. That represents 22.4% of the March labor force. America’s labor force shrank in April, as the crisis worsened.

Energy & Environment

Global energy demand will collapse again if coronavirus makes a comeback, IEA warns

RT –  A Second wave of Covid-19 cases is a major risk for the energy market, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned. The agency raised its outlook for oil demand, which will still see a record drop this year.

In its key monthly report published on Thursday, the Paris-based energy watchdog said it expects global oil demand to fall by 8.6 million barrels per day (bpd). That’s around 700,000 bpd more than the IEA said in its previous report.

Science & Technology

Facebook Announces $100,000 Project to Detect “Hateful Memes”

Infowars – Facebook has announced the launch of a “Hateful Memes Challenge” during which researchers will compete for a $100,000 prize pool by developing artificial intelligence that can successfully detect “hateful memes.”

The company has created 10,000 “hateful” customized memes as a data set for the challenge.

“In order for AI to become a more effective tool for detecting hate speech, it must be able to understand content the way people do: holistically,” writes Facebook. “When viewing a meme, for example, we don’t think about the words and photo independently of each other; we understand the combined meaning together. This is extremely challenging for machines, however, because it means they can’t just analyze the text and the image separately. They must combine these different modalities and understand how the meaning changes when they are presented together.”


Coronavirus may ‘never go away,’ says WHO official

CNN – The coronavirus spreading across the globe might never be eliminated, a leading World Health Organization official has said.

During a media briefing in Geneva, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, warned Wednesday that the disease may join the mix of viruses that kill people around the world every year,

“This virus just may become another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away. HIV hasn’t gone away,” Ryan said. “I’m not comparing the two diseases but I think it is important that we’re realistic. I don’t think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear.”

Coronavirus antibody test a ‘positive development’

BBC- A test to find out whether people have been infected with coronavirus in the past has been approved by health officials in England.

Public Health England said the antibody test, developed by Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche, was a “very positive development”.

The blood test looks for antibodies to see if a person has already had the virus and might now have some immunity.

Until now, officials have said such tests are not reliable enough.

The government previously spent a reported £16m buying antibody tests which later proved to be ineffective.

Sources told the BBC the Roche test was the first one to offer serious potential.

Fruits, Tea May Protect Brain From Alzheimer’s

Newsmax – If you’re worried about developing Alzheimer’s disease, new research suggests that eating more fruits or drinking more tea or red wine might help protect your brain.

People who had the lowest amounts of fruits — like apples and berries — and red wine and tea in their diets were two to four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or another related dementia, the study found.

“Diet matters. And the good news is you don’t have to make dramatic changes. Modest changes like going from not eating any berries to eating a cup or two a week can make a difference,” explained the study’s senior author, Paul Jacques. He’s a senior scientist and director of nutritional epidemiology at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

The researchers suspect that flavonoids — substances naturally found in plant foods — are providing these potential benefits in brain health. One major health benefit associated with flavonoids is reduced inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

The researchers sorted the diet information into four categories of flavonoids intake. They compared people with the lowest intake to those with the highest intake.

On the low end, people had no berries, about 1.5 apples and no tea during the month. On the highest end, people ate about 7.5 cups of blueberries or strawberries, eight apples or pears and had about 19 cups of tea (green or black) each month.

The researchers found that folks consuming the lowest amounts of apples, pears and tea had twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia or other related dementias.

Consuming the lowest level of blueberries, strawberries and red wine was associated with a fourfold risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other related dementias.

Jacques said a number of factors are suspected in Alzheimer’s disease, including genetics and environmental considerations. Previous research has suggested that diet is a strong environmental factor, and this study adds to that evidence.

“This study also seems to tell us that the risk of dementia varies with people’s dietary intake,” Jacques said.

Animal News

Is Avocado Safe for Dogs?

Mercola – The flesh of avocados provides fiber, folate and vitamins K, B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 and C to your dog, along with healthy fats.

The stems, leaves, pits, skin and tree bark of the avocado plant should not be given to dogs, as they contain higher amounts of persin, a fungicidal toxin.

Keep avocado pits away from your dogs, as they pose a risk of foreign body obstruction in the esophagus, stomach or intestinal tract.

To feed your dog avocado, cut it in half, remove the pit and skin, and offer your dog a small amount of sliced or diced flesh