Today’s News: May 22, 2020

World News

Epidemic ‘is under control’ in Czech Republic as it opens hotels, relaxes mask-wearing rules next week

RT – Czech health authorities believe the spread of the new coronavirus is under control despite an uptick in cases in recent days. The country is preparing to open pubs, hotels and relax mask-wearing rules on Monday.

Public events for up to 300 people will be allowed next week, and swimming pools and schools will reopen. An initial easing of restrictions from May 11 had not had an adverse effect, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said.

The country had recorded 8,757 cases of Covid-19 by Friday morning, with 306 deaths, Reuters reports.

Chief public health officer Jarmila Razova said there were currently two main local infection hot spots. In Prague, there were 50 new daily cases on average since May 1 scattered across the whole city. In the east of the country, more than 100 cases have been identified, mostly among the miners from one shaft and their families.

Putin warns of potential 2nd wave of Covid-19 infections in the fall, tells Russian Health Ministry to prepare

RT – Right now, most of the world seems to think the worst of the coronavirus epidemic has passed, with many countries beginning to come out of lockdown. But Russian President Vladimir Putin believes there may be more pain ahead.

According to Putin, the virus may once again begin to spread widely from October to November. During a meeting to discuss the epidemiological situation in Russia, he said the country needs to be ready for a second wave later in the year.

Putin added that the removal of the present restrictions in Russia must be guided by science. However, he also asked officials to prepare recommendations for dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, especially the economic repercussions.

Lacking seasonal workers, Italy elevates its long-shunned migrants

CS Monitor – The heart of Italy’s agricultural sector is concentrated in the southern regions of Calabria and Puglia, the country’s “toe” and “heel” respectively, in fields of tomatoes, lettuce, and orange trees. And in a normal year at about this time, seasonal workers from Eastern Europe would be working in those fields to bring the produce to market.

But the coronavirus pandemic has made this far from a normal year – especially in Italy, one of Europe’s worst affected countries. With most nations in the European Union closing their borders to travel in order to prevent the virus’s spread, there are no seasonal workers coming to Italy from abroad. And without those extra workers, the prospect of fields full of rotten tomatoes and unpicked citrus fruits loomed.

That has prompted the Italian government to rethink its frequently antagonistic approach to the estimated 600,000 irregular migrants working in its agriculture sector. It has agreed to allow farm hands and domestic workers to legalize their status with a residency valid for six months, thereby both addressing Italy’s employment gap and improving the employment and healthcare opportunities available to migrants amid the pandemic

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Joe Biden: ‘You Ain’t Black’ if You Don’t Back Me over Trump

Breitbart – Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) declared Friday morning that if black Americans are unsure whether to support him over President Donald Trump in the November election, “then you ain’t black.”

Biden made the unsolicited racially-charged remark as he departed his virtual interview with Breakfast Club co-host Charlamagne tha God.

“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” Biden told Charlamagne, not in response to any question, but to the host’s statement: “It’s a long way until November, we’ve got more questions.”

“It don’t have nothing to do with Trump, it has to do with the fact — I want something for my community,” the radio host shot back.

Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of President Trump, responded to Biden’s comment, tweeting that it sounded “racist.”

“Imagine if Donald Trump said this,” he then asked.

Biden’s comment received further blowback from other political and media figures from across the media spectrum.

Darrell Issa, Judicial Watch Sue Gavin Newsom over Vote by Mail

Breitbart – Former Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Judicial Watch sued California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday over his May 8 executive order allowing all voters in the state to vote by mail — whether they had formally requested to do so, or not.

Newsom’s order cites the threat of coronavirus: because “it is unknown to what degree COVID-19 will pose a threat to public health in November,” mail-in ballots must be sent to everyone — but in-person voting must also be provided.

Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on behalf of Issa, who is running for Congress again in the 50th district (as opposed to his former district, the 49th, which has become more liberal). Three voters — one Democrat, one Republican and one independent — are also named plaintiffs in the suit, which was filed in federal court in Sacramento. The defendants include both Newsom and Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who is responsible for administering elections in the state.

The lawsuit lays out a simple case: the U.S. Constitution provides explicitly that the state legislatures control the manner of electing members of Congress, as well as members of the Electoral College (who elect the president).

Virginia governor signs bill decriminalizing marijuana

CNN – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation on Thursday that decriminalizes marijuana possession, joining a majority of states that have ceased treating the drug as a criminal offense.

The new law, which goes into effect July 1, is the latest progressive action taken by state Democrats since taking full control of Virginia’s government in November for the first time in more than two decades.

On Thursday, Northam, a Democrat, signed Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 972, creating a civil penalty of no more than $25 for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, with no jail time.

Under current Virginia law, possession of marijuana is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum 30-day jail sentence for a first offense. For a second offense, the individual is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor — meaning up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

Economy & Business

Record High Grocery Prices As Farmers Smash Eggs & Dump Milk

Activist Post – Food prices have soared in recent weeks while at the same time, farmers are smashing eggs and dumping out milk. Farmers are wasting more food than ever while most Americans are feeling a pinch at the grocery store.

The power-hungry elitists have done their job.  The wealthy will get to eat while the poor, who were forced out of work will have to just “figure it out.” A lot of Americans will soon be eating a lot less. Grocery prices spiked by the largest amount in nearly 50 years last month because of the draconian shutdown of most the economy, including food facilities. There is now much more demand there is supply, therefore, food will go to those who can afford to buy it.

“Just about everyone is looking for assistance because the pandemic has hit every kind of person,” said Paula Murphy, a spokesperson for the Houston Food Bank. “We’re serving the clients we served pre-pandemic and we’re serving the clients who never thought they would need to visit a food bank,” she said according to Yahoo News.  

In New York City, 2 Million Residents Face Food Insecurity, Officials Say

NPR – Officials in New York City say they plan to deliver more than a million free meals a day beginning next week. The number of people going hungry in the five boroughs has risen sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re dealing with an unprecedented crisis,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday morning during his daily briefing. “Before the coronavirus, we thought somewhere around a million people were food insecure and needed food. Now we think that number is 2 million or more.”

That means roughly one in four New Yorkers face food insecurity. Daily meals will be delivered or available for pickup and will be packaged to reflect many New Yorkers religious dietary restrictions, officials said.

De Blasio has appointed the city’s sanitation commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, to serve as “food czar,” organizing the nutrition response.

“This is an enormous operation,” Garcia said at Thursday’s briefing. “It’s really nothing like anything that’s been done in this city or I would say probably across the world.”

De Blasio said local officials have already delivered 32 million free meals since he declared a state of emergency on March 12 over the coronavirus.

The Worst Unemployment Spike In U.S. History – 1 Out Of Every 4 Workers Has Filed For Unemployment Benefits In 2020

Michael Snyder – Even though most U.S. states have begun the process of “reopening” their economies, the unprecedented tsunami of job losses that we have been experiencing just continues to roll on.  On Thursday, we learned that another 2.4 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits during the previous week, and that brings the grand total for this pandemic to a whopping 38.6 million.  To get an idea of just how badly this swamps what we witnessed during the last recession, take a look at this chart.  This is the biggest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin, and analysts are expecting another huge number once again next week.

After my father got out of the U.S. Navy, he worked as a math teacher for many years, and throughout my life I have always had a deep appreciation for numbers.

And in this case, the numbers are telling us that we are facing something truly horrific.

During the month of February, the number of Americans that were currently employed peaked at 152,463,000.

If you take the 38.6 million workers that have filed for unemployment benefits during this crisis and divide it by 152,463,000, you will find that it gives you a figure of more than 25 percent.

In other words, more than one out of every four jobs in the United States is already gone, and more job losses will be coming week after week.

And of course not everyone that loses a job actually files a claim for unemployment benefits.  So the true percentage of Americans that have lost a job would be even higher.

Energy & Environment

“Green New Deal” Promotes LED Bulbs Which The AMA, Scientists and Some Environmentalists Say Are Harmful

Activist Post – Rolling Stone magazine devoted a sizable chunk of their April issue to the “Green New Deal.”  The GND promotes “Energy Saver” light bulbs – CFLs and LEDs – which unfortunately are NOT green.  Alongside the article, “The Green New Deal Is Cheap, Actually,” there is a chart entitled “The True Cost of Carbon.”  The chart encourages 6 lifestyle changes including that we “Go LED.”  Ironically, the “Go LED” endorsement isn’t terribly convincing – “Switching out incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent of LED bulbs is one of the actions recommended to reduce carbon emission at home, but the impact is modest.”

So the impact is modest and health and environmental experts (including the American Medical Association) have been warning for many years that these bulbs are harmful.  Why the Hell are these bulbs still being endorsed as “Green” and being installed anywhere at all?

Doctors Push for ‘Climate Change’ to Be Recorded on Death Certificates

Breitbart – Researchers at Australian National University (ANU) have called for ‘climate change’ to be recorded as a cause of death on death certificates. They claim that in Australia, the rate of people dying as a result of global warming may be 50 times higher than is officially acknowledged.

In a letter to The Lancet Planetary Health, researchers Arnagretta Hunter and Simon Quilty claim the impact of climate change is currently understated.

National mortality records in Australia suggest substantial under-reporting of heat-related mortality. Less than 0·1% of 1·7 million deaths between 2006 and 2017 were attributed directly or indirectly to excessive natural heat. However, recent research indicates that official records underestimate the association at least 50-fold.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald:

Over the past 11 years in Australia, just 340 deaths have been recorded as being caused by excessive heat, but statistical analysis by two doctors with the Australian National University shows that 36,765 could have been attributed to heat.

“Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates,” co-author Arnagretta Hunter, from the ANU Medical School, said.

And:

“Climate change is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from coronavirus.

“We are successfully tracking deaths from coronavirus, but we also need healthcare workers and systems to acknowledge the relationship between our health and our environment.”

Dr Hunter and her co-author Dr Simon Quilty, call for death certificates to include more information about factors contributing to deaths.

Climate activists around the world see the coronavirus pandemic as a crisis which they must not allow to go to waste. The timing of this letter suggests that they are learning their lessons well. They may have noted that in many countries, the medical authorities have adopted extraordinarily lax policies towards the inclusion of “Covid-19” on death certificates.

Bumblebees bite plants to make them flower early, surprising scientists

How it actually works remains a mystery, but if replicated by humans, it could be a boon for agriculture.

National Geographic – BUMBLEBEES AREN’T MERELY bumbling around our gardens. They’re actively assessing the plants, determining which flowers have the most nectar and pollen, and leaving behind scent marks that tell them which blooms they’ve already visited.

Now, a new study reveals that bumblebees force plants to flower by making tiny incisions in their leaves—a discovery that has stunned bee scientists.

“Wow! was my first reaction,” says Neal Williams, a bee biologist at the University of California, Davis. “Then I wondered, how did we miss this? How could no one have seen it before?”

Consuelo De Moraes, a chemical ecologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, had the same reaction when one of her students, Foteini Pashalidou, noticed buff-tailed bumblebees making tiny incisions in the leaves of their greenhouse plants. The insects didn’t seem to be carrying off the bits of leaves to their nests or ingesting them.

Science & Technology

Scientists and Groups Ask Canadian Gov’t to Invest in Wired Technology and Suspend 5G Until Proven Safe

Activist Post – Many cities and countries have already taken action against 5G deployment by banning it, filing lawsuits, issuing moratoriums, passing ordinances and resolutions.  Since 2018, there have been reports of people and animals becoming sick after it was turned on.

Of course it’s not just 5G that is harmful.  All sources of Electromagnetic Radiation (aka “Electrosmog”) is biologically and environmentally harmful.  This includes Bluetooth, cell phone and WiFi radiation.  Health experts have been warning about exposure risks for many years and continue to do so (see 1, 2).  This includes the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics.  Even Dr. Oz has warned about exposure!

Kudos to these Canadians for appealing to their government to stop 5G deployment and invest in safer wired connections instead.

Health

Coronavirus: Children half as likely to catch it, review finds

The findings will feed into the debate around the safety of re-opening schools.

BBC – Children and adolescents are half as likely to catch the coronavirus, the largest review of the evidence shows.

The findings, by UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, will feed into the debate about how schools are reopened.

Children also appear less likely to spread the virus, but the team said there was still uncertainty on this.

The UK government is expected to publish its scientific advice on schools later.

However, only England has announced that some primary children (Reception, Year 1 and Year 6) could return to the classroom, sparking concerns about safety.

It is already clear that children are at far less risk of becoming severely ill or dying from coronavirus.

Eating Chocolate Could Slash High Blood Pressure Risk

Green Med Info – here’s a growing list of research touting chocolate’s antioxidant content, favorable action against disease-inducing oxidative stress and overall health benefits. One study highlights chocolate’s potential to reduce the risk for high blood pressure, which can be good news amid near-epidemic levels of this condition worldwide

A number of studies support the positive effects of cocoa on cardiovascular health, including its ability to reduce common risk factors such as insulin resistance, endothelial dysfunction, low levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol and oxidized LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol.

Recently, a study on French women investigated the potential benefit of cocoa consumption in lowering high blood pressure risk.

In studies featuring the benefits of chocolate, tea, red wine and blueberries, one would likely encounter words like anthocyanins, flavonoids and antioxidants.

Antioxidants are a broad range of biochemicals that scour free radicals. These sinister oxidizers, once set loose, incite a chain reaction that starts to oxidize unsaturated fats of cell membranes, which then leads to crippled DNA expression, cell division and immune function, to name a few functions.

Antioxidants fight oxidative stress or inflammation, which plays an important role in virtually all diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and joint pain.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, chocolate was found to lower risk factors for diabetes. 

Eating chocolate’s active constituents, namely cacao and flavan-3-ols, reduced insulin resistance significantly.

Cocoa flavanols (a type of antioxidant) are plant-derived bioactive ingredients from the cacao bean. The dietary consumption of flavanols has been associated with improved cardiovascular health, such as the improvement of blood vessel elasticity and lowered blood pressure.

There’s a clincher, however: the compounds are often destroyed during normal food processing. Raw chocolate might be your best bet since the more heated and processed cacao is, the more flavanols and other antioxidants are lost. Raw cacao is available in bean, nib or powder form.

12 Benefits and Uses of Argan Oil

Healthline – Argan oil has been a culinary staple in Morocco for centuries — not only because of its subtle, nutty flavor but also its wide array of potential health benefits.

This naturally occurring plant oil is derived from the kernels of the fruit of the argan tree.

Although native to Morocco, argan oil is now used across the globe for a variety of culinary, cosmetic and medicinal applications.

This article explains 12 of the most prominent health benefits and uses of argan oil.

  1. Contains Essential Nutrients

Argan oil is primarily comprised of fatty acids and a variety of phenolic compounds.

The majority of the fat content of argan oil comes from oleic and linoleic acid 2. Has Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The various phenolic compounds in argan oil are likely responsible for most of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacities.

Argan oil is rich in vitamin E, or tocopherol, a fat-soluble vitamin that serves as a potent antioxidant to reduce the damaging effects of free radicals 

  1. May Boost Heart Health

Argan oil is a rich source of oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated, omega-9 fat (1).

Oleic acid is also present in several other foods, including avocado and olive oils, and is often credited with heart-protective effects 

  1. May Have Benefits for Diabetes

Some early animal research indicates argan oil may help prevent diabetes.

Two studies resulted in a significant reduction in both fasting blood sugar and insulin resistance in mice fed a high-sugar diet alongside argan oil 

  1. May Have Anticancer Effects

Argan oil may slow the growth and reproduction of certain cancer cells.

One test-tube study applied polyphenolic compounds from argan oil to prostate cancer cells. The extract inhibited cancer cell growth by 50% compared to the control group 

  1. May Reduce Signs of Skin Aging

Argan oil has quickly become a popular ingredient for many skin care products.

Some research suggests that dietary intake of argan oil may help slow the aging process by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress

  1. May Treat Some Skin Conditions

Argan oil has been a popular home remedy for treating inflammatory skin conditions for decades — especially in North Africa, where argan trees originate.

Although there’s limited scientific evidence supporting argan oil’s ability to treat specific skin infections, it is still frequently used for this purpose

  1. May Promote Wound Healing

Argan oil may accelerate the wound healing process.

One animal study revealed a significant increase in wound healing in rats given argan oil on their second-degree burns twice daily for 14 days

  1. May Moisturize Skin and Hair

The oleic and linoleic acids that make up the majority of argan oil’s fat content are vital nutrients for maintaining healthy skin and hair

Argan oil is often directly administered to skin and hair but may also be effective when ingested.

  1. Often Used to Treat and Prevent Stretch Marks

Argan oil is frequently used to prevent and reduce stretch marks, although no research has been conducted to prove its efficacy.

In fact, there is no strong evidence that any kind of topical treatment is an effective tool for stretch mark reduction

  1. Sometimes Used to Treat Acne

Some sources claim argan oil to be an effective treatment for acne, although no rigorous scientific research supports this.

That said, argan oil’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds may support reduced redness and irritation of the skin caused by acne

  1. Easy to Add to Your Routine

As argan oil has become increasingly popular, it’s easier than ever to add it to your health and beauty routine.

It is widely available in most major grocery stores, drug stores and online retailers.

Lifestyle

Fire department warns not to leave hand sanitizer in vehicle on a warm day

The Western Journal – Summer is coming — for some of us, the temperatures are already there. With the onslaught of the heat, there are precautionary measures we know to take.

Watch out for mirrors, which might catch and focus the light and start a fire. Don’t leave water bottles out, because they, too, might trap and focus the light, starting a fire.

“The conditions must be just right,” Oklahoma’s Midwest City Fire Department spokesperson, David Richardson, told Today. “The bottle has to have liquid, the liquid has to be clear, the bottle has to be clear and sunlight has to pass through it at the right angle.”

Of course, one easy way to avoid this danger while staying hydrated is to keep water in a container that is not clear and cannot focus light into a fire-starting beam.

Now, with increased cleanliness measures, the Western Lakes Fire District in Wisconsin is warning people of a new potential danger: hand sanitizer.

“Let’s start today with a little education!” the department shared on Thursday. “We’ve chatted in the past about clear water bottles being kept in your vehicle when the weather is warm.”

“That still holds true and so does hand sanitizer! By its nature, most hand sanitizer is alcohol-based and therefore flammable. Keeping it in your car during hot weather, exposing it to sun causing magnification of light through the bottle — and particularly being next to open flame while smoking in vehicles or grilling while enjoying this weekend — can lead to disaster.”

“Please respect the possibilities and be fire safe.”