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Today’s News: September 14, 2020

Video: Police departments launch ‘Coffee with a Cop’ program

FAUCI: I’m ‘Taking Vitamin D Supplements’ to Help Prevent COVID, ‘A Gram’ of Vitamin C ‘Would Be Fine’

National File – Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, appeared in an Instagram Live interview with actress Jennifer Garner, and claimed that he is “taking vitamin D supplements” to help prevent COVID-19, and suggested “a gram” of vitamin C “would be fine” to help prevent the disease.

In a wide ranging discussion where Fauci dictated how children must be forced to wear masks and socially isolate in school, what sports must shut down, who will be allowed to get a vaccine first, and what can be done to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on a personal level.

Specifically, Fauci suggested vitamin C and D supplements to maintain a healthy immune system and help fend off the virus, especially if an individual is already deficient in vitamin D. He also said that he takes vitamin D supplements with COVID-19 prevention in mind, as he is typically deficient.

“If you’re deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself, taking vitamin D supplements,” said Fauci. “The other vitamin that people take is vitamin C because it’s a good antioxidant, so if people want to take a gram or so of vitamin C, that would be fine.”

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Fauci: Americans can go to theaters once a vaccine has existed for ‘almost a year’

‘I would think by the time we get to the end of 2021,’ he said

Fox – Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes Americans will be able to sit in theaters again once a coronavirus vaccine has existed “for almost a year.”

Fauci was responding to a question from actress Jennifer Garner about when Americans can expect to return to theaters during an interview posted to Garner’s Instagram page on Thursday.

He added that if the U.S. gets a “knock-out vaccine that’s 85 [to] 90% effective,” and “just about everybody gets vaccinated,” society will have “a degree of immunity” that allows the general public to “walk into a theater without masks and feel like it’s comfortable” that they will not be at risk of catching COVID-19.

Fauci also clarified some theories about catching COVID-19 based on earlier studies, saying people don’t need to worry too much about contracting the virus through inanimate objects such as groceries and packages, and people do not need to wear masks outside when they are very far away from others.

Movie theaters, Broadway and other in-person entertainment venues have taken a significant hit to business as a result of coronavirus lockdown restrictions that have just begun to ease across the country.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said drugmakers involved in coronavirus vaccine trials should be ready to start distributing vaccines by Nov. 1.

Three vaccines set for distribution in the U.S. from Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca are currently in the final stages of clinical trials, and President Trump suggested on Sept. 3 that a vaccine could be available as soon as October.

Vaccine maker got $1 billion from taxpayers. Now it’s boosting drug prices.

LA Times – One of the world’s largest drug companies has been aggressively raising prices even as it received hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. government aid to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca, which the Trump administration has celebrated for its vaccine work, boosted prices despite renewed promises by President Trump this summer to keep drug costs in check.

The multinational pharmaceutical firm raised prices in a way that stood out even among other big drug companies. It announced not just one set of price hikes in 2020 but two, often on the same drugs, according to an analysis of drug pricing data by The Times and 46brooklyn Research, a nonprofit that studies the pharmaceutical industry.

AstraZeneca hiked prices on some of its biggest selling medicines by as much as 6% this year at a time when the overall inflation rate is hovering around 1%, the analysis shows. The administration has said nothing about the price increases.

Fight on Canadian plane over child refusing to wear mask cancels flight

Airline requiring all passengers 2 and older wear masks

Fox – A flight from Calgary to Toronto was canceled this week after a dispute over an unmasked child.

Canadian airline WestJet said it had to cancel the flight early Tuesday because two parents on the plane refused to put a mask on their 3-year-old child, CBC News reported.

The airline and the Canadian government require all passengers age 2 and older to wear masks as a safety precaution against the coronavirus.

WestJet to did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

The airline told CBC News that the crew called authorities after the travelers refused to comply with the order and then refused to get off the plane.

“Due to the rapid escalation of the situation on board, our crew felt uncomfortable to operate and the flight was subsequently canceled,” an airline spokesperson told CBC News.

However, Safwan Choudhry, one of the parents, said his 3-year-old daughter was actually wearing a mask and that the dispute was over his 19-month-old daughter, according to the report. He said the airline’s actions were disappointing and he wanted an apology.

Anti-Maskers Forced to Dig Graves For Victims In Indonesia

Gizmodo – At least eight people who have refused to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic have been forced to dig graves for people who died from covid-19 in the province of East Java, Indonesia, according to a report from the Jakarta Post.

“There are only three available gravediggers at the moment, so I thought I might as well put these people to work with them,” local politician Suyono told Tribun News, according to an English-language translation by the Jakarta Post.

The article notes that anti-maskers who are being punished are not forced to handle the dead bodies and are instead doing the manual labor of digging graves and preparing the plots with wooden planks to support the caskets. Public health officials in the district of Cerme handle the bodies using full-body protective equipment, ensuring there’s no risk of exposure.

Indonesia instituted a national law requiring masks to be worn in early April but that policy was strengthened in July after East Java saw a spike in cases and a survey of the region found that 70% of people in the province weren’t wearing a mask. Indonesia, like many other low and middle-income countries, has struggled to contain the spread of the virus for reasons that often center around a lack of wealthy and resources—something that can limit testing and contact tracing. But masks are a relatively inexpensive public health measure that can literally save lives.

Israel new nationwide lockdown

AP – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday announced a new countrywide lockdown will be imposed amid a stubborn surge in coronavirus cases, with schools and parts of the economy expected to shut down in a bid to bring down infection rates.

Beginning Friday, the start of the Jewish High Holiday season, schools, restaurants, malls and hotels will shut down, among other businesses, and Israelis will face restrictions on movement and on gatherings.

“Our goal is to stop the increase (in cases) and lower morbidity,” Netanyahu said in a nationally broadcast statement. “I know that these steps come at a difficult price for all of us. This is not the holiday we are used to.”

The tightening of measures marks the second time Israel is being plunged into a lockdown, after a lengthy shutdown in the spring. That lockdown is credited with having brought down what were much lower infection numbers, but it wreaked havoc on the country’s economy, sending unemployment skyrocketing.

The lockdown will remain in place for at least three weeks, at which point officials may relax measures if numbers are seen declining. Israelis typically hold large family gatherings and pack synagogues during the important fast of Yom Kippur later this month, settings that officials feared could trigger new outbreaks.

A sticking point in government deliberations over the lockdown was what prayers would look like during the holidays. While the details on prayer during the lockdown were not nailed down in the government decision, what were expected to be strict limits on the faithful. That prompted Israeli Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, who represents ultra-Orthodox Jews, to resign from the government earlier Sunday.

Trump Accepts Invitation For Live 4 Hour Debate With Biden Hosted by Joe Rogan

Infowars – President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation from Joe Rogan to appear on his podcast for a 4 hour live debate with Joe Biden.

Tim Kennedy tweeted that the challenge was made by Rogan during an appearance on his podcast.

“On my podcast with @joerogan he offered to moderate a debate between @JoeBiden and @realDonaldTrump It would be four hours with no live audience,” tweeted Kennedy.

“Just the two candidates, cameras, and their vision of how to move this country forward. Who wants this? #debates #Election2020.”

“I do!” responded Trump.

REPORT: Tehran considering assassinating US ambassador.

Politico – The Iranian government is weighing an assassination attempt against the American ambassador to South Africa, U.S. intelligence reports say, according to a U.S. government official familiar with the issue and another official who has seen the intelligence.

News of the plot comes as Iran continues to seek ways to retaliate for President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a powerful Iranian general earlier this year, the officials said. If carried out, it could dramatically ratchet up already serious tensions between the U.S. and Iran and create enormous pressure on Trump to strike back — possibly in the middle of a tense election season.

U.S. officials have been aware of a general threat against the ambassador, Lana Marks, since the spring, the officials said. But the intelligence about the threat to the ambassador has become more specific in recent weeks. The Iranian embassy in Pretoria is involved in the plot, the U.S. government official said.

Still, attacking Marks is one of several options U.S. officials believe Iran’s regime is considering for retaliation since the general, Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated by a U.S. drone strike in January. At the time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. killed Soleimani to re-establish deterrence against Iran.

New Prescription: Dose of Live Music for Hospital Patients

WSJ – The goal of the preliminary study, which ends in late September, was to alleviate the stress and anxiety of a hospital stay, as well as pangs of isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic when there are more restrictions on visitors.

Research shows listening to music activates the regions of the brain used for social engagement. It also reduces anxiety, pain and feelings of loneliness, and elevates mood and energy levels. Pairing words with music can help stroke patients with speech. For Parkinson’s patients, music can help with walking and balance. It has been shown to help reduce headaches and increase the threshold for seizures and it decreases agitation in dementia patients.

Researchers say live music in hospitals is particularly effective because the musicians can adjust the tempo and volume—or change the type of music played—based on patients’ reactions.

Karen Peterson is on the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians, the accreditation organization for training programs which certify therapeutic musicians who play music in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical settings around the world. Hundreds of health care facilities use live therapeutic music, she says, including Children’s National Hospital in Washington, Kaiser Permanente facilities in California and Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

There is a distinction between music therapy and live therapeutic musicians, she says. Music therapists actively engage patients with a specific purpose or goal, whereas therapeutic musicians play music that the patients receive passively. “We are choosing music that’s going to create a healing environment to alleviate whatever kind of physical, emotional and mental concerns that might be happening,” she says. “Since that patient doesn’t have to interact with us, we can provide therapeutic music for patients who are not responsive, who are in labor, or who are actively dying.”

Improvisation works well in situations where the patient isn’t responsive and the musician wants to avoid playing music that may trigger a bad memory, Ms. Peterson says. High notes can stimulate the brain so are avoided for patients with brain injuries. Dementia patients have strong positive reactions to songs from their youth.

The main benefit, she says, is that music can stabilize vital signs and reduce stress and anxiety. “From a physical standpoint if you are not in pain, not in stress, not anxious, and your vital signs are stabilized, then all of the other therapies can work better in your body,” she says.

Sign of life on Venus discovered with Hawaii telescope

Star Adviser – Phosphine molecules were detected in the Venusian high clouds in data from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. The detection of phosphine could point to extraterrestrial “aerial” life. Above, an artistic impression of Venus depicting a representation of phosphine molecules shown in inset.

An international team of scientists using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Hawaii island has discovered the potential for life on Venus. Read more

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An international team of scientists using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Hawaii island has discovered the potential for life on Venus.

The discovery of the rare gaseous compound known as phosphine in the clouds of Venus is described in a paper published today in the journal Nature Astronomy. The lead author is Jane Greaves, a former Mauna Kea astronomer who is now a professor at Cardiff University in Wales.

The detection of phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere could well point to extraterrestrial “aerial” life, according to the paper. On Earth this gas of hydrogen and phosphorus is produced naturally only by microbes that exist in oxygen-free environments.

The first detection of phosphine in the clouds of Venus occurred using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, the radio telescope where Greaves worked in the 1990s.

The JCMT is the largest single-dish astronomical telescope in the world designed specifically to operate in the submillimeter wavelength region of the electromagnetic spectrum and was one of the observatories used by scientists who last year unveiled the first image of a black hole.

After finding phosphine on Venus in Hawaii, the team of scientists reaffirmed the discovery using the 45 telescopes of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile.

In the end both facilities saw the same thing: faint absorption at the right wavelength to be phosphine gas, where the molecules are backlit by the warmer clouds below.

“These results are incredible,” said Jessica Dempsey, the JCMT’s deputy director. “They have implications in the search for life outside our solar system.”

Astronomers have speculated for years that high clouds on Venus might offer a home for microbes floating far enough away from the super-hot surface of the planet to obtain water and sunlight but also needing to tolerate extremely high acidity.

SpaceX SN8 to launch and fly to 60,000 feet next week

PHYS ORG – Elon Musk, head of SpaceX, has announced via Twitter that the company’s SN8 rocket will take a test flight sometime next week. The plan is for the rocket is to soar up to 60,000 feet (18,300 meters) and then return to Earth in a controlled landing.

N8 is one in a line of SpaceX’s Starships that are predecessors to vehicles for missions to the moon and Mars. SN5 and SN6 recently completed tests of 500 feet each, which the company calls short hops, before returning to Earth. They were meant to test the integrity of the steel walls of the rocket. Both were launched at SpaceX’s launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, and both had just one Raptor engine pushing them into the air. SN7 was intentionally destroyed in a test tank to determine the strength limits of the design. SN8 will launch from the same site and will have three of the Raptor engines to give it the power needed to reach the much higher altitude. The test next week will be the first time three of the Raptors will be tested together as a single unit.

Before the rocket can be launched, it must first undergo a few more tests. They are called static fires (in which the rocket is held down as the engines fire) and ground checkouts. SN8 (unlike its predecessors) will also be fitted with flaps to assist with steering and a nosecone, which will be used in the future to hold cargo or people. The addition of both, Musk notes, will give the rocket a look much like the final design. The plan also calls for turning off the three engines during the initial stage of a descent and controlled landing—the rocket will perform a belly flop routine to slow its descent for several minutes and then the engines will be restarted, allowing the rocket to land in an upright position.

Musk has suggested in the past that his Starships will be able to carry as many as 100 people at a time to the moon (or 100 tons of cargo). The ultimate goal, however, is carrying people and their cargo to Mars and back.

5 Tropical Cyclones In Atlantic Basin Simultaneously

Forbes – In a year that keeps on giving us “Wow” moments, I awoke to a National Hurricane Center Tropical Weather Outlook that made me say “Wow.” As of 6:23 am on September 14th, NOAA’s tropical experts are monitoring six tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin, and five of them have names. Here is the latest on the latest record to be tied or broken during the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, and there will be more unfortunately.

For only the second time on record, the Atlantic basin has five or more tropical cyclones (defined as a tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane) simultaneously. The U.S. Gulf coast is facing Tropical Storm (likely to become Hurricane) Sally, which is expected to slow down before landfall and be a major flood threat. Hurricane Paulette is basically sitting over Bermuda right now. Rene has weakened to a tropical depression while Teddy strengthened a tropical storm. The latest tropical depression (TD21) has formed west of the African continent. According to Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach, the other time we saw this many tropical cyclones at the same time was 1971. Klotzbach tweeted, “On September 11-12, 1971, the Atlantic had 6 tropical depression or greater storms simultaneously: Edith, Fern, Ginger, Unnamed, Heidi and Irene.”

Americans raiding retirement savings

NBC – As households struggle to make ends meet,  more Americans have been forced to halt or raid their retirement savings in this coronavirus-induced recession.

Nearly 3 in 10 people have decreased the amount of money they’re setting aside for retirement or stopped saving altogether due to the economic fallout of Covid-19, according to a FinanceBuzz survey published in August.

A large share of consumers have also pulled money out of savings.

round 30% of retirement savers tapped their retirement accounts over the last 60 days, according to a MagnifyMoney survey published in May. Those consumers pulled out $6,757, on average.

Just over half withdrew money in order to cover expenses and 26% did so because of a job loss, according to the survey, which polled 1,239 Americans with retirement accounts.

Colin Kaepernick Accuses NFL of Pushing ‘Propaganda About How They Care About Black Life’

Breitbart – Former NFL player and famed protester Colin Kaepernick has joined the many fans outraged 

over the Black Lives Matter “propaganda” foisted onto the NFL, but not exactly for the same reason.

Kaepernick jumped to his Twitter account on Sunday to slam the NFL for its many tributes to the Black Lives Matter movement with protests, sideline banners, social media posts, and other efforts to push the narrative. But as far as Kaepernick is concerned, all the social activism being indulged by the league is empty gesturing.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback pointed to his protest partner, Eric Reid, as proof that the league does not mean any of its proclamations about black lives.

“While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life,” Kaepernick tweeted, “they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) for fighting for the Black community. Eric set 2 franchise records last year and is one of the best defensive players in the league.”

Chinese State Media Trashes Disney’s ‘Mulan’ for Not Being Pro-China Enough

Breitbart – China’s state-run newspaper Global Times excoriated Disney’s live-action remake of 1990s cartoon film Mulan in a weekend review that dismissed it as “self-righteous,” historically inaccurate, and insulting to the patriotism of the Chinese people.

Mulan is a retelling of a Chinese legend about a woman, Hua Mulan, believed to live in the Sixth Century AD who joined the military in secret to protect her ill father from mandatory service. After months of logistics struggles at Disney to rework the release of the film around the Chinese coronavirus pandemic and global theater closures, the corporation released the film last week. It almost immediately triggered widespread global disgust after viewers noted that the film thanked Chinese Communist Party officials complicit in the genocide of the ethnic Uyghur people for their help with production.

At Least 50 Shot, 11 Fatally, During Weekend in Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago

Breitbart – On September 13, 2020, Breitbart News reported at least 35 people had been shot, nine fatally, Friday into Sunday morning alone in Lightfoot’s Chicago.

By Monday morning ABC 7 reported the numbers had risen to 51 shot, 12 fatally. The Chicago Sun-Times reported 53 were shot, 11 fatally.

ABC 7 notes four people were shot, one fatally, in Englewood just before 4 p.m. Sunday. The victims were sitting on a porch when a passing vehicle stopped and two people jumped out and began shooting.

A 35-year-old man was shot in the head and killed, while a 26-year-old woman, 17-year-old boy, and 60-year-old man were all shot and wounded.

An 86-year-old man was shot dead in West Pullman Sunday. His body was discovered about 6 p.m. and police determined he had been shot by an “85-year-old man during a domestic incident.” Police estimate he was shot in the period between 2 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

The last fatal shooting of the weekend occurred at 11:30 Sunday night, when a 28-year-old woman was killed and a 26-year-old man wounded while sitting in a vehicle in Garfield Park. Someone “on foot” outside the vehicle opened fire, shooting the woman in the back and the man in the stomach.

Breitbart News reported the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever critically wounded a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier in Lightfoot’s Chicago on Thursday.

CNN reported a USPIS press release indicating the USPS employee was “shot multiple times while working” on South Ellis Avenue.

She was left in critical condition after the bullets hit her in “the back of both legs, buttocks area, stomach and the back of her head.”