Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order declaring a national emergency to deal with the threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries.
Foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in the United States bulk-power system. The bulk-power system provides the electricity that supports our national defense, our vital emergency services, our critical infrastructure, our economy, and our way of life. The bulk-power system is a target of those seeking to commit malicious acts against the United States and its people, including malicious cyber activities. Although maintaining an open investment climate in bulk-power system electric equipment, and in the United States economy more generally, is important for the overall growth and prosperity of the United States, such openness must be balanced with the need to protect our Nation against a critical national security threat. To deal with this threat, additional steps are required to protect the security, integrity, and reliability of bulk-power system electric equipment used in the United States.
The Executive Order prohibits certain future transactions involving bulk-power system electric equipment where the Secretary of Energy (Secretary), in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and, as appropriate, the heads of other executive departments and agencies (agencies), has determined that:
(i) the transaction involves bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied, by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary; and
(ii) the transaction:
(A) poses an undue risk of sabotage to or subversion of the design, integrity, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of the bulk-power system in the United States;
(B) poses an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of United States critical infrastructure or the economy of the United States; or
(C) otherwise poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.
The Executive Order also establishes a Task Force on Federal Energy Infrastructure Procurement Policies Related to National Security.
I have delegated to the Secretary the authority to take such actions, including directing the timing and manner of the cessation of pending and future transactions prohibited pursuant to the Executive Order, adopting appropriate rules and regulations, and employing all other powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to implement the Executive Order. The heads of all agencies, including the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to implement the provisions of the Executive Order.
I am enclosing a copy of the Executive Order I have issued.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Key Dates in Corona Virus Cover-Up
KEY DATES IN COVID COVER-UP
November 9, 2015:
Wuhan Institute of Virology publish a study revealing
they created a new virus in the lab from SARS-CoV.
December 6, 2019
Five days after a man linked to Wuhan’s seafood market
presented pneumonia-like symptoms, his wife contracts it, suggesting human to
China’s health authorities told a novel disease, then
affecting some 180 patients, was caused by a new coronavirus.
Evidence of new virus emerges from Wuhan patient data.
Chinese internet authorities begin censoring terms from
social media such as Wuhan Unknown Pneumonia.
January 1, 2020
Eight Wuhan doctors who warned about new virus are
detained and condemned.
China’s top health authority issues a gag order.
Wuhan Municipal Health Commission stops releasing daily
updates on new cases. Continues until January 18.
PRC official Wang Guangfa says outbreak “under control”
and mostly a “mild condition”.
Professor Zhang Yongzhen’s lab in Shanghai is closed by
authorities for “rectification”, one day after it shares genomic sequence data
with the world for the first time.
PRC National Health Commission chief Ma Xiaowei privately
warns colleagues the virus is likely to develop into a major public health
Trade deal with China signed with 'force majeur' disclaimer
Officials in Beijing prevent the Wuhan Institute of
Virology from sharing sample isolates with the University of Texas.
China’s internet watchdog tightens controls on social
Citizen-journalist and local businessman Fang Bin
Wuhan belatedly raises its official fatalities by 1290.
The measles outbreak scare certainly was a good pre-cursor to Rona vaccine
Just as Republicans gave Trump a pass in his speech, Dems do same for Biden’s.
AP exclusive Tara Reade now says she only accused Biden of complimenting her legs
PROJECTION: Is it possible the the entire Mueller scheme was meant to PROTECT someone? Double agent and spy ring FLYNN KNEW
We Are Safe-Vaxxers
The measles outbreak scare certainly was a good pre-cursor to Rona vaccine
Low dose lung radiotherapy for COVID-19 pneumonia. The rationale for a cost-effective anti-inflammatory treatment
warning from Illinois health and emergency officials was sent out Thursday over the state's Rapid Electronic Notification System known as SIREN. The bulletin instructed first responders to beware of some of the protective face masks provided by the state.
The masks Illinois officials have instructed law enforcement not to use are some Chinese made KN95 masks labeled "Huabai" or "Sanqi." Others cited in the state warning are unmarked respirators, or appear to be emblazoned only in Chinese.
According to the alert obtained by the I-Team that was sent to law enforcement agencies, fire departments and municipalities across Illinois, the KN95 masks provided to them by state emergency officials "may not meet performance standards."
The bulletin states "Counterfeit KN95 masks are reportedly flooding the marketplace" and Illinois has distributed KN95 masks throughout the state."
"It might say N95 mask on there but you've got to know that that's a real N 95 mask. You've really got to make sure that what arrives is what you paid for, what you thought you were getting. And so we're doing our best, you know, things come in on shipments of a million," said Governor JB Pritzker during his daily briefing.
One suburban police chief told the I-Team he did not have to wait for the state warning. The chief said when the masks arrived he ordered the box-loads set aside and not used because they did not look legitimate.
As COVID-19 cases and deaths continue unchecked in Illinois, first responders protection has already been an issue. Everything from concerns about inadequate supplies of masks, gloves and other personal protection gear, to police in some counties not being provided the locations of known coronavirus victims. Now there are new concerns about the masks provided by state officials.
"We know that there are different levels of coverage from N95, to KN95, to surgical mask coverings, so there are different levels of covers that are needed depending on what you're doing," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Since the outbreak began, Illinois records reveal state taxpayers have spent at least $47 million on protective masks of all kinds. We now know some of those masks should not be used.
Statement from Governor Pritzker's office:
In light of recent recall of certain KN95 masks in Missouri, IDPH issued guidance to clarify how KN95 masks with emergency use authorization from the FDA should be used. Further guidance will be issued today clarifying that KN95 masks will be evaluated and outlining how they can be safely used in healthcare settings. IDPH's preference is that N95 masks be used for procedures like intubation, that pose a higher risk of exposure. IDPH and IEMA are lot checking the KN95 masks that are shipped to Illinois to verify they meet standards and offer guidance on the best uses for those that are not under emergency use authorization from the FDA.
Copyright (C) 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-Dude Named PhoneBoy ð'>>'¸ð¬(C)¸: "@adam ask and you shall receive. Video: https://'..." - No Agenda Social
Can a producer please save this and post it to bitchute it elsewhere so I can pull my clips in the am? Still watching past my bedtime to get time codes. https:// m.youtube.com/watch?v=QLi6ZrFp 6vQ&feature=youtu.be
VIDEO-EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW_ Robert Ke...ent.mp4 - FileTransfer.io
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VIDEO-Tara Reade tells AP Biden complaint did not explicitly detail assault, harassment | TheHill
Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer who has alleged she was sexually assaulted by former Vice President Joe Biden Joe BidenTara Reade says she is not ready to respond to Biden denial Tara Reade tells AP Biden complaint did not explicitly detail assault, harassment A Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama ticket to replace Joe Biden? Is it even possible? MORE , told The Associated Press that the complaint she filed 27 years ago did not explicitly accuse the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of sexual harassment or assault.
''I remember talking about him wanting me to serve drinks because he liked my legs and thought I was pretty and it made me uncomfortable,'' Reade told the AP on Friday. ''I know that I was too scared to write about the sexual assault.''
Reade, who previously said she filed a sexual harassment complaint against Biden, said ''uncomfortable'' was the main word she used in her complaint and noted she was fearful of retaliation. Reade said she intended to report the harassment and assault but ''chickened out.''
The existence of that report has become a key factor in the allegations against Biden. The presumptive Democratic nominee has vehemently denied the allegations, and on Friday his campaign called for both the secretary of the Senate and the National Archives to assist in locating the alleged complaint file.
Even if the complaint is located, Reade has not claimed the filing detailed the sexual assault allegation she reported in March. She did not formally report the alleged sexual assault until April of this year, when she filed a police report in Washington, D.C., so any previous documents likely won't produce evidence related to the assault allegation itself.
However, the claim received increased attention when Reade's former neighbor came forward to say that Reade told her about the allegations in the mid-1990s, going on the record to corroborate the accusation.
The AP also talked to two people who corroborated Reade's claims under condition of anonymity.
Democrats and the media have faced scrutiny this week from critics who point to what they call a double standard when it comes to how they addressed allegations against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh Brett Michael KavanaughTara Reade tells AP Biden complaint did not explicitly detail assault, harassment New York Times calls on DNC to investigate Tara Reade allegations Democrats accused of double standard on Biden, Kavanaugh MORE and Biden.
VIDEO 18m35s - Immunity passport - Episode 6: The Question of Immunity | CIDRAP
In this episode, Dr. Osterholm and host Chris Dall discuss the latest information on immunity following recovery from COVID-19, outbreaks among employees of food and meat processing facilities, the role of pets in the pandemic, and the public's perspective on social distancing.
The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play.
VIDEO - Exclusive: NYPD Chief Of Department Says 'We Are Past The Point Of Warnings' When It Comes To Social Distancing '' CBS New York
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -The NYPD is putting muscle behind
Mayor Bill de Blasio's insistence that New Yorkers
observe social distancing.
CBS2 has learned that an army of cops will fan out across the city this weekend to make sure New Yorkers are masked and apart.
CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer has exclusive details.
You might say it's no more Mr. Nice Guy. The NYPD will be out in force at parks, beaches and playgrounds this weekend to make sure New Yorkers don't get up close and personal with each other, that everyone observes social distancing.
''We are past the point of warnings. This is a dangerous situation,'' said NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan.
CORONAVIRUS PANDEMICResources, Hotlines, Unemployment & Covering BillsRemote Learning Tools For Parents Teaching At HomeAsk Dr. Max Your Health QuestionsHow Make Your Own DIY Face MaskHow To Safely Remove Disposable GlovesTips For Parents To Help Kids CopeChopper 2 Over Empty NYC Streets, LandmarksComplete Coronavirus CoverageMonahan told Kramer that New Yorkers drawn out of their homes by the expected sunny skies and warm temperatures this weekend will see a large police presence: 1,000 cops, all five boroughs, to keep New Yorkers safe by trying to stop the spread of COVID-19.
''Barbecues, large gatherings of people together, organized sports events, people hanging together trying to drink'... we'll be breaking these up. We will be actively involved,'' Monahan said. ''People who are just walking together, exercising, on a blanket with their family, those are not people we are going to bother. They don't have a mask, we'll give them a mask.''
''Will you really arrest people?'' Kramer asked.
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
''If they confront us, it becomes an incident, yes we will. If it has to be, yes. I hope it never comes to that though, Marcia. People should understand just how dangerous a virus this is,'' Monahan said.
WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio Gives Coronavirus Update
The new police enforcement action comes after Mayor de Blasio saw red following a funeral in Williamsburg this week that drew thousands.
''In Wiliamsburg, that was completely unacceptable. Over two thousand people gathered on the street,'' Monahan said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Coronavirus Shutdown 30 Days In
Meanwhile, the mayor announced a plan to provide more open space by closing seven miles of streets next week for pedestrians and cyclists, but he has stressed social distancing is the order of the day.
''There's going to be a crackdown everywhere if we see gatherings,'' de Blasio said.
And even though he's concerned about crowds, the mayor insisted he's going to find some way to celebrate July Fourth. He wouldn't say how, but he promised there will be fireworks.
VIDEO - Report for America Surges During COVID Crisis, Fielding 225 Reporters in Local Newsrooms | Report for America
Meet the 2020-21 corps >> Report for America today announced the selection of 225 journalists for its 2020 reporting corps. The new cohort will be placed with more than 160 local news organizations across 46 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
These reporting positions come at a time when local journalism is already reeling from years of newsroom cuts and unforeseen challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. They also mark a major expansion from the current corps size of 59, of whom, more than 90 percent are returning.
Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities through its reporting corps. It is an initiative of the nonprofit news organization, The GroundTruth Project.
The full list of 2020-21 corps members is here. The journalists start in June and reflect wide ranging backgrounds of the communities they will serve:
225 reporters in 162 newsrooms About 40 percent are journalists of color, m ore than a quarter speak Spanish Average age is 27 5 are post-9/11 U.S. military veterans More than two thirds are women ''It's now crystal clear that the need for trustworthy, accurate, and local information can be a matter of life and death,'' said Steven Waldman, co-founder and president of Report for America. ''This surge of reporters should help meet this moment.''
Today, Report for America also announced a new round of support from the Facebook Journalism Project. Facebook is a leading supporter of the program and their latest contribution of $2.5 million will help scale the corps at this tremendous time of need for local news.
''Local journalists are providing us with an extraordinary public service 24 hours a day,'' said Campbell Brown, VP, Global News Partnerships, Facebook. ''We all need to understand how the virus is impacting the communities where we live'--it's vital information that's helping keep our friends and families safe, and we're proud to support Report for America in this effort.''
Report for America co-founder Charles Sennott, CEO of GroundTruth, said, ''We're grateful to all of our funders who are allowing us to answer a great need across the country for trusted local news and to restore journalism from the ground up in communities across the country.''
THE 2020-21 CORPS
This year's Report for America corps was chosen after a highly selective national competition that drew more than 1,800 applications. Leading journalists, editors and academics from a diverse spectrum of backgrounds and different media platforms acted as judges.
Among the new class are the winners of: the Maryland/Delaware/DC First Place Award for Best Series (''Surviving Abuse''); Best breaking news and human interest stories from the Los Angeles Press Club (for '' Families lose loved ones to Orange County's opioid crisis''); and the New England Press Association Rookie of the Year Award.
The group also includes career-changers and reporters with unusual non-journalism experiences, including: a Stanford computer scientist who holds two patents, the Air Force Academy's Outstanding Educator of the Year, a Ph.D. ecologist, an intelligence officer in the Israel Defense Forces and a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda.
''The talent level of our applicants was extraordinary,'' said Kim Kleman, National Director of Report for America. ''And it shows that there's a new generation that can't wait to get out there, connect with residents and report on what's happening in communities throughout the country.''
They have worked on staff at a wide range of newsrooms, including the Associated Press, Boston Globe, the Daily Oklahoman, Deseret News, Hubbard Broadcasting, the Marion Star, Miami Herald, New York Times, NPR, PBS NewsHour, Quad City Times, Texas Tribune, KEVN Fox local news , USA Today, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
Five are post-9/11 veterans seeking their next opportunity to serve at home. '' As a transitioning military member'--with service around the country and world'--I recognize the importance of local journalism,'' said Brandon Lingle, a U.S. Air Force veteran who will be reporting for the San Antonio Express-News. ''Local voices and stories are critical for our democracy today.''
The corps members attended a wide range of colleges and graduate schools from around the country including: Arizona State University, Columbia University, Marquette University, Miami Dade College, Millsaps College, Milwaukee School of Engineering, North Carolina A&T State University, Northern Kentucky University, Northwestern University, Oklahoma Christian University, Princeton University, United States Air Force Academy, University of California Berkeley, University of Idaho, University of Southern California, University of Wyoming and Yale.
Many corps members will cover the coronavirus for their host news organizations. Report for America and The GroundTruth Project have been developing guidelines and workshops for journalists to work safely in the field at this time of required isolation and social distancing.
The newsrooms were selected in December based on a national competition. To win, news organizations described an urgent gap in coverage and a plan to deploy a Report for America journalist to address that gap. As a result of the COVID-19 shock, some newsrooms pulled out of the program and others newsrooms asked for additional staff.
The 162 newsrooms are in 46 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Nearly half of the positions are in nonprofit media organizations. The breakdown of the newsrooms by media platform:
Radio: 19% TV: 5% Newspapers: 44% Digital first: 21% Associated Press: 11% Initially, many of the corps members will be covering COVID-19. Over time, they will shift to the beats originally defined by the newsrooms, including health care, housing, schools, government accountability, minority issues, environmental issues, and military and veterans affairs.
The final list of newsrooms, searchable by state or beat, can be found here .
ESSENTIAL PHILANTHROPIC PARTNERS
Report for America aims to increase the size of its reporter corps each year'--with a goal of 1,000 journalists by 2024. Its ability to scale the program is made possible by multi-year commitments from supporters like the Knight Foundation.
Report for America leverages a unique funding match model, paying half of a corps member's salary, while encouraging and supporting its local news partners to contribute one-quarter, and local and regional funders to contribute the final quarter.
For example, the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund, an initiative of the Democracy Fund, gave $40,000 this year to seven Report for America newsroom partners across North Carolina, getting them off to a running start on their fundraising for the year.
''Local news and information are an essential to the immediate response to this current crisis. Communities need accessible, credible reporting now and for the long term, even as news organizations face unprecedented challenges. Report for America corps members can serve those communities' needs and catalyze new forms of support,'' said Lizzy Hazeltine, fund coordinator, for the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund at the North Carolina Community Foundation.
Additional leading, current supporters include: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Natasha and Dirk Ziff; The Joyce Foundation; The David and Lucile Packard Foundation; Jonathan Logan Family Foundation; Craig Newmark Philanthropies; Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; Heising-Simons Foundation; Tow Foundation; Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation; Evelyn Y. Davis Foundation; LOR Foundation/Solutions Journalism Network; Galloway Family Foundation; Leon Levy Foundation; Inasmuch Foundation; Select Equity Group; Henry L. Kimelman Foundation; Annie E. Casey Foundation; Newman's Own Foundation; Annenberg Foundation; Santa Fe Community Foundation; Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation; Further Forward Foundation; and McClatchy Foundation.
To learn more about Report for America and its efforts to strengthen communities through public service journalism, please visit www.reportforamerica.org . If you are interested in partnering with Report for America, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Report for America: Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local news rooms to report on under-covered topics and communities. Launched in 2017 and donor-financed, Report for America is creating a new, sustainable system that provides Americans with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and rebuild trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project , a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. GroundTruth is an award-winning nonprofit media organization with an established track record of training and supporting teams of emerging journalists around the world and in the US.
Meet the 2020-21 corps >>
VIDEO - The Air Force Is Tired of Waiting, So It's Kickstarting the Flying Car Industry
(C) Popular Mechanics The goal is to have a full operational fleet by 2023. Agility Prime is the U.S. Air Force's new commercial development program for flying cars. In part, the Air Force wants to create a healthy domestic industry for the vehicles to keep abreast of security concerns.By 2023, the Air Force hopes to have an operational fleet of the vehicles.The virtual event began on April 27 and continues through this Friday, May 1. Watch both new and completed sessions here.It feels like the U.S. has been on the brink of a flying car revolution for half a century. Every so often, a company claims to be just two or three years away from the perfect avian vehicle. In 2011, it was rumored that a company called Terrafugia would have $227,000 flying cars "in a matter of months," and even Uber has promised to have autonomous flyers by 2023.
One thing these efforts have in common? They never come to fruition. And the Air Force is tired of waiting, so its launching Agility Prime, a new research and development program that seeks to "accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility vehicles," according to its website.
"With over 200 companies leveraging advances from hybrid and electric cars to create affordable 'electric vertical takeoff and landing' (eVTOL) systems, a radical transportation future is not too far fetched, nor too far away," Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, wrote in a Wired op-ed. "Especially if the Air Force helps precipitate it."
Roper says that because some 80 percent of R&D funding goes to the private sector, often side-stepping the Pentagon, new technologies can imperil national security. He cites China's takeover of the drone industry as one example, which has left the government scrambling. Earlier this year, the Department of Interior grounded almost the entirety of the U.S. drone fleet due to security concerns.
If the military would have provided funding for drone development, Roper muses, it's possible a domestic industry could have emerged, thereby avoiding this "cautionary tale." He hopes the Agility Prime program will help ensure the same mistakes aren't repeated with flying cars.
Agility Prime, which launched on Monday, is leveraging Air Force assets'--from test ranges, to safety certifications, to military missions that can log long flight hours'--to prove out the tech, appeal to investors, and "hopefully expedite domestic commercialization," according to Roper.
Considering the Pentagon is responsible for innovation staples that run the gamut from GPS and voice assistants to nuclear energy and even an early version of the internet, the idea that the Air Force could usher in flying cars for real this time isn't so far-fetched.
This week, Agility Prime has been hosting a series of live-fly challenges, meant to bring together companies and investors. These so-called "Air Races" are meant to show off current prototype vehicles that could perform in military missions. These events will continue through May 1 and you can catch those live streams here.
In the first solicitation, the Air Force called for vehicles that can carry three to eight people at speeds greater than 100 miler per hour and with the ability to continuously fly for over one hour, with a range of more than 100 miles. The goal is to realize full-scale flights by December 17 of this year, and a full air fleet by 2023.
"Air Force hallways in the Pentagon are lined with pictures of groundbreaking aircraft: from the Wright Brothers' cloth and wood designs, to the sleek jets that thundered past the sound barrier, to the stealthy weapons systems that dominate the skies today," Roper said.
VIDEO - UC Davis Researchers To Begin Testing Coronavirus Vaccine Patch This Week '' Good Day Sacramento
by Dina Kupfer April 29, 2020 at 6:20 pmDAVIS (CBS13) '-- Researchers at UC Davis will begin testing a coronavirus vaccine on mice this week.
Verndari, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Napa, will begin preclinical testing of a possible coronavirus vaccine on mice this week in partnership with UC Davis' mouse biology program.
''We want a vaccine so we can go back to the life that we knew before,'' Verndari, Inc. CEO Dan Henderson said.
Alison Brashear is the Dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine.
''The mouse biology program will be a pivotal partner to determine not only the vaccine development but also the device and the delivery mechanism that is unique here,'' Brashear said.
READ: Coronavirus Antibody Tests Have 'Terrible' Accuracy, Researcher Says
The first-of-its-kind ''vaxipatch'' is a dermal patch that could be self-administered. The COVID-19 vaccine would be delivered through a metal microneedle array into a patient's arm. It would not require refrigeration, so it could be shipped in the mail, making it more accessible.
''We are transferring the technology we developed for flu to a COVID-19 vaccine,'' Henderson said.
Henderson says the company pivoted quickly when the pandemic began. The plan is to first test the patch on mice, then move to monkeys.
He hopes to begin human testing by late June.
ALSO: Coronavirus Update: Yolo County Extends Shelter-In-Place Order Until May 31
''We're not going to be able to have football stadiums with 40-100,000 people until we have a vaccine. We'd all like to get the party going again,'' Henderson said.
UC Davis is ideally positioned to do this type of work because they already had the infrastructure in place. But Brashear stopped short of saying when we could see a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA.
''I have every confidence that we will move as quickly as we can, but we also want to do it right, and we want to make sure that any vaccine that would come out is safe,'' Brashear said.
VIDEO - Bill Gates slip of the tongue. ''producing childhood death'' - YouTube
The Department of Education sent a letter to the University of Texas requesting all records pertaining to its dealings with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Department of Education's Office of the General Counsel sent a letter to University of Texas Chancellor James Milliken on April 24 requesting records related to the University's dealings with Chinese state-owned companies and universities.
''Unfortunately, the more we dig, the more we find that too many are underreporting or not reporting at all."
The letter states that the University of Texas had ''substantial contractual relations'' with a Wuhan based maximum biocontainment laboratory (Wuhan MCL) also called the Wuhan Institute of Virology. MCLs ''operate at the highest level of biological containment to diagnose, perform research on, and validate cures for life-threatening diseases.''
[RELATED: Number of professors allegedly in cahoots with communist China quickly mounts]
The U.S. laboratory involved, the Galveston National Laboratory (GNL), one of America's fourteen Bio Safety Level 4 laboratories, is operated by the University of Texas' Medical Branch Institute for Human Infections and Immunity.
On November 28, 2019, GNL revealed in a press release in SCIENCE magazine that the lab ''engaged in short- and long-term personnel exchanges focused on biosafety training, building operations and maintenance, and collaborative scientific investigations in biocontainment'' with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
According to an editorial in SCIENCE magazine, the establishment of the Wuhan MCL was a response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018. There are more than fifty MCLs across the world, the leaders of which are moving toward establishing an MCL network with shared best practices in order to gain public trust.
''We succeeded in transferring proven best practices to the new Wuhan facility. Both labs recently signed formal cooperative agreements that will streamline future scientific and operational collaborations on dangerous pathogens, although funding for research and the logistics of exchanging specimens are challenges that we have yet to solve,'' continued the press release.
From June 6, 2014, to June 3, 2019, the University of Texas has disclosed twenty-four contacts with Chinese state-owned universities and ten contracts with Huawei Technologies, a company that has been charged with bribery and corruption from numerous countries. These contracts amount to approximately $13 million.
Suspicions arose that UT neglected to report all gifts and exchanges between itself and the Chinese state-owned institutions. A federal mandate to report all dealings by universities with foreign countries is found in Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which promotes ''financial transparency through required reporting of contracts with and gifts from a foreign source that, alone or combined, are valued at $250,000 or more in a calendar year.''
The Department of Education requested that the University of Texas provide any and all records relating to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as numerous other China-based organizations within thirty days. Failure to comply will result in the Secretary of Education requesting that the ''Attorney General commence an enforcement action to compel compliance and to recover the full costs to the United States of obtaining compliance.''
The University of Texas assured Fox News, however, that they have always and will continue to comply with federal laws and regulations. The GNL has ''collaborated with more than 70 countries and with scientists from the U.S. and abroad on biosafety and biosecurity, as part of its broad mission to advance global scientific collaboration," reads the statement.
[RELATED: Trump admin investigates after schools get TENS of MILLIONS of dollars from Qatar]
This investigation comes two months after federal investigations were launched against Yale and Harvard for their ties to the Chinese and Saudia Arabian governments, as reported on by Campus Reform.
''Unfortunately, the more we dig, the more we find that too many are underreporting or not reporting at all. We will continue to hold colleges and universities accountable and work with them to ensure their reporting is full, accurate, and transparent, as required by the law," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in response to the U.S. universities' involvement with foreign sources.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @redwave1776 and Instagram: @enna.marie3519
VIDEO - Flashback '' Biden on Blasey Ford: Women Should Be Given 'Benefit of the Doubt'
NBC/ScreenshotFormer Vice President and presumptive 2020 Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden has denied he sexually assaulted an aide in his Senate office in the 1990s and has said the claim should be ''vetted,'' but he had a different response when asked about Christine Blasey Ford's similar accusation against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, saying women ''should be given the benefit of the doubt.''
Biden made the remarks on NBC's Today on September 21, 2018, when anchor Craig Melvin asked him about Blasey Ford's treatment, as documented by Grabien Media.
Biden, on whether Kavanaugh deserves the presumption of innocence: ''the woman should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be abused again by the system." pic.twitter.com/D4cGTYbaQm
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 1, 2020
A transcript is as follows:
CRAIG MELVIN: Dr. Ford has said now that she wants to testify, as you know, Mr. Vice President. But now the battle seems to be over how versus when. She wants to make sure that she's protected. She wants to make sure she's treated fairly. How would you suggest that the Senate handle these allegations?
JOE BIDEN: I think they should do an FBI investigation. We did that for Anita Hill. It took two days, number one. And number two, most importantly, Anita Hill was vilified when she came forward by a lot of my colleagues, character assassination. I wish I could have done more to prevent those questions and the way they asked them. I hope my colleagues learned from that. Learned from that. She deserves to be treated with dignity. It takes enormous courage for a woman to come forward under the bright lights of million of people watching her and relive something that happened to her, assert something happened to her. She should be treated with respect.
MELVIN: You brought up Anita Hill. You were chairman of the Judiciary Committee back in 1991. You were roundly criticized for not doing more during that hearing. Looking back on that, specifically, how would you advise senators to proceed next week? And how do you balance the rights of a woman who is making accusations like this versus the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty?
BIDEN: I think the presumption should exist, but what should happen is the woman should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be abused again by the system. My biggest regret was, I didn't know how I could shut you off if you were a senator and you were attacking Anita Hill's character. Under the Senate rules, I can't gavel you down and say you can't ask that question, although I tried. So, what happened was, she got victimized again during the process. I believed her when she came forward. I encouraged her to come forward. We were in a position where we got the FBI to do an investigation. And I voted against Clarence Thomas. He only got seven votes. He got seven yeses and seven noes; it was a tie vote in the committee. But I hope they understand what courage it takes for someone to come forward and relive what they believe happened to them, and let them state it. But treat her with respect. Ask tough questions. Ask substantive questions, ''Where were you? What was said? When?'' et cetera. But don't go after the character assassination.
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NeverTrumper Nicole Wallace tried to call the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden a smear job, but then someone slapped her with her own hypocritical tweet from way back in 2016.
MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace:
"The right isn't running an intellectually honest operation to get to the bottom of whether Tara Reade was victimized. The right is running a smear campaign against Joe Biden." pic.twitter.com/G0QUf9iryN
'-- Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 1, 2020
Sure. When have the Democrats been intellectually honest at all?! Anyway, she's a hypocrite, and this one little tweet proves it:
I believe every woman coming forward. https://t.co/CbX89rQ1fx
'-- Nicolle Wallace (@NicolleDWallace) October 15, 2016
Ahhhh so when the accusations were against Trump, she believed every woman. But NOW that they're against Biden, it's an intellectually dishonest smear campaign! I see how it works. I guess the Republicans went back in time and forced Tara Reade to tell her neighbor and other people lies JUST in case one day they would be able to lie about Joe Biden! Incredible foresight, these dastardly villains'...
I have to admit that when she first started splitting from the Republicans over Trump I thought some of her criticism was fair and reasonable. But since then she has really gone off the deep end and hardly anything she says sounds like a criticism from the right at all. Sad!
CoronavirusGilead CEO Daniel O'Day, President Trump, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Dr. Deborah Birx discuss the FDA's emergency authorization to use Remdesivir in treating Covid-19 patients.
an hour ago
VIDEO-theGunrun on Twitter: "Nvidia's RTX Voice tech looks AMAZING. I can finally use a desk mic again with my mechanical keyboard! @Barnacules's test with the fan and hammer is so impressive https://t.co/ES7ELMiMQS https://t.co/PCiA0DRcpW" / Twitter
Like the story of the elephant/monkey above (very amusing, by the way, thanks for the laugh) their not well thought out plan, for ending this fell apart.
Their plan was,CONTINGENT upon PDJT firing Mueller team, Or agreeing to be deposed, leading to Impeachment for Obstruction or perjury.
At that point ''nobody'' would have been paying any attention to what happened to Gen. Flynn.
So, the prosecution kept delaying final sentencing. As long as Mueller investigation was ''ongoing'', the threat to charge Flynn jr. was hanging, so Gen Flynn 'went along'with the delays.
It was only when Mueller investigation was ended, that Gen Flynn was free to make his move, fire Covington, hire Sidney, and go on offence.
Like the elephant, the outcome was obvious, once Mueller team failed.
Just as Sidneys filings, and disclosures being made by DOJ (as a result of FISC court order on sequestering poisoned fruit, I suspect) are FORCING the Judge to 'do the right thing', Barr is NOT doing these disclosures cause he WANTS to (I suspect) but because he HAS to.
Again, IMHO once Mueller team failed to produce an excuse for Republicans in Senate to vote to convict, the Prosecutions case against Flynn was doomed, and they have spent all this time, delaying pulling the cork out, knowing the inevitable result.
Delay, delay, delay and hope against hope that tomorrow, something will change (like Ukraine impeachment, for instance).
Its human nature, when faced with a bad outcome, to delay as long as possible.
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VIDEO - Joe Biden to Sit Down with Rev Al. Will You Be Able to Understand What You Hear? | SUPERcuts! #765 - YouTube
May 1, 2020 2020-05-01T14:11:36-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/bd2/20200501141300001_hd.jpg Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany briefs reporters at the White House.Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany briefs reporters at the White House.
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*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO - Mary Margaret Olohan on Twitter: "Biden left momentarily speechless over the thought of authorizing a search of Reade's name in UDelaware Senate records. Then says there would be nothing there. https://t.co/JBHiJXOrw7" / Twitter
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VIDEO - (20) Ben Goldey on Twitter: "When asked who went around protocol and instead decided to send FBI agents into White House for the General Flynn perjury trap, James Comey responds ''I sent them.'' https://t.co/AxDGIixAi6" / Twitter
One of the questions I get asked the most these days is when the world will be able to go back to the way things were in December before the coronavirus pandemic. My answer is always the same: when we have an almost perfect drug to treat COVID-19, or when almost every person on the planet has been vaccinated against coronavirus.
The former is unlikely to happen anytime soon. We'd need a miracle treatment that was at least 95 percent effective to stop the outbreak. Most of the drug candidates right now are nowhere near that powerful. They could save a lot of lives, but they aren't enough to get us back to normal.
Which leaves us with a vaccine.
Humankind has never had a more urgent task than creating broad immunity for coronavirus. Realistically, if we're going to return to normal, we need to develop a safe, effective vaccine. We need to make billions of doses, we need to get them out to every part of the world, and we need all of this to happen as quickly as possible.
That sounds daunting, because it is. Our foundation is the biggest funder of vaccines in the world, and this effort dwarfs anything we've ever worked on before. It's going to require a global cooperative effort like the world has never seen. But I know it'll get done. There's simply no alternative.
Here's what you need to know about the race to create a COVID-19 vaccine.
The world is creating this vaccine on a historically fast timeline.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he thinks it'll take around eighteen months to develop a coronavirus vaccine. I agree with him, though it could be as little as 9 months or as long as two years.
Although eighteen months might sound like a long time, this would be the fastest scientists have created a new vaccine. Development usually takes around five years. Once you pick a disease to target, you have to create the vaccine and test it on animals. Then you begin testing for safety and efficacy in humans.
Safety and efficacy are the two most important goals for every vaccine. Safety is exactly what it sounds like: is the vaccine safe to give to people? Some minor side effects (like a mild fever or injection site pain) can be acceptable, but you don't want to inoculate people with something that makes them sick.
Efficacy measures how well the vaccine protects you from getting sick. Although you'd ideally want a vaccine to have 100 percent efficacy, many don't. For example, this year's flu vaccine is around 45 percent effective.
To test for safety and efficacy, every vaccine goes through three phases of trials:
Phase one is the safety trial. A small group of healthy volunteers gets the vaccine candidate. You try out different dosages to create the strongest immune response at the lowest effective dose without serious side effects.
Once you've settled on a formula, you move onto phase two, which tells you how well the vaccine works in the people who are intended to get it. This time, hundreds of people get the vaccine. This cohort should include people of different ages and health statuses.
Then, in phase three, you give it to thousands of people. This is usually the longest phase, because it occurs in what's called ''natural disease conditions.'' You introduce it to a large group of people who are likely already at the risk of infection by the target pathogen, and then wait and see if the vaccine reduces how many people get sick.
After the vaccine passes all three trial phases, you start building the factories to manufacture it, and it gets submitted to the WHO and various government agencies for approval.
This process works well for most vaccines, but the normal development timeline isn't good enough right now. Every day we can cut from this process will make a huge difference to the world in terms of saving lives and reducing trillions of dollars in economic damage.
So, to speed up the process, vaccine developers are compressing the timeline. This graphic shows how:
In the traditional process, the steps are sequential to address key questions and unknowns. This can help mitigate financial risk, since creating a new vaccine is expensive. Many candidates fail, which is why companies wait to invest in the next step until they know the previous step was successful.
For COVID-19, financing development is not an issue. Governments and other organizations (including our foundation and an amazing alliance called the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) have made it clear they will support whatever it takes to find a vaccine. So, scientists are able to save time by doing several of the development steps at once. For example, the private sector, governments, and our foundation are going to start identifying facilities to manufacture different potential vaccines. If some of those facilities end up going unused, that's okay. It's a small price to pay for getting ahead on production.
Fortunately, compressing the trial timeline isn't the only way to take a process that usually takes five years and get it done in 18 months. Another way we're going to do that is by testing lots of different approaches at the same time.
There are dozens of candidates in the pipeline.
As of April 9, there are 115 different COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the development pipeline. I think that eight to ten of those look particularly promising. (Our foundation is going to keep an eye on all the others to see if we missed any that have some positive characteristics, though.)
The most promising candidates take a variety of approaches to protecting the body against COVID-19. To understand what exactly that means, it's helpful to remember how the human immune system works.
When a disease pathogen gets into your system, your immune system responds by producing antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to substances called antigens on the surface of the microbe, which sends a signal to your body to attack. Your immune system keeps a record of every microbe it has ever defeated, so that it can quickly recognize and destroy invaders before they make you ill.
Vaccines circumvent this whole process by teaching your body how to defeat a pathogen without ever getting sick. The two most common types'--and the ones you're probably most familiar with'--are inactivated and live vaccines. Inactivated vaccines contain pathogens that have been killed. Live vaccines, on the other hand, are made of living pathogens that have been weakened (or ''attenuated''). They're highly effective but more prone to side effects than their inactivated counterparts.
Inactivated and live vaccines are what we consider ''traditional'' approaches. There are a number of COVID-19 vaccine candidates of both types, and for good reason: they're well-established. We know how to test and manufacture them.
The downside is that they're time-consuming to make. There's a ton of material in each dose of a vaccine. Most of that material is biological, which means you have to grow it. That takes time, unfortunately.
That's why I'm particularly excited by two new approaches that some of the candidates are taking: RNA and DNA vaccines. If one of these new approaches pans out, we'll likely be able to get vaccines out to the whole world much faster. (For the sake of simplicity, I'm only going to explain RNA vaccines. DNA vaccines are similar, just with a different type of genetic material and method of administration.)
Our foundation'--both through our own funding and through CEPI'--has been supporting the development of an RNA vaccine platform for nearly a decade. We were planning to use it to make vaccines for diseases that affect the poor like malaria, but now it's looking like one of the most promising options for COVID. The first candidate to start human trials was an RNA vaccine created by a company called Moderna.
Here's how an RNA vaccine works: rather than injecting a pathogen's antigen into your body, you instead give the body the genetic code needed to produce that antigen itself. When the antigens appear on the outside of your cells, your immune system attacks them'--and learns how to defeat future intruders in the process. You essentially turn your body into its own vaccine manufacturing unit.
Because RNA vaccines let your body do most of the work, they don't require much material. That makes them much faster to manufacture. There's a catch, though: we don't know for sure yet if RNA is a viable platform for vaccines. Since COVID would be the first RNA vaccine out of the gate, we have to prove both that the platform itself works and that it creates immunity. It's a bit like building your computer system and your first piece of software at the same time.
Even if an RNA vaccine continues to show promise, we still must continue pursuing the other options. We don't know yet what the COVID-19 vaccine will look like. Until we do, we have to go full steam ahead on as many approaches as possible.
It might not be a perfect vaccine yet'--and that's okay.
The smallpox vaccine is the only vaccine that's wiped an entire disease off the face of the earth, but it's also pretty brutal to receive. It left a scar on the arm of anyone who got it. One out of every three people had side effects bad enough to keep them home from school or work. A small'--but not insignificant'--number developed more serious reactions.
The smallpox vaccine was far from perfect, but it got the job done. The COVID-19 vaccine might be similar.
If we were designing the perfect vaccine, we'd want it to be completely safe and 100 percent effective. It should be a single dose that gives you lifelong protection, and it should be easy to store and transport. I hope the COVID-19 vaccine has all of those qualities, but given the timeline we're on, it may not.
The two priorities, as I mentioned earlier, are safety and efficacy. Since we might not have time to do multi-year studies, we will have to conduct robust phase 1 safety trials and make sure we have good real-world evidence that the vaccine is completely safe to use.
We have a bit more wiggle room with efficacy. I suspect a vaccine that is at least 70 percent effective will be enough to stop the outbreak. A 60 percent effective vaccine is useable, but we might still see some localized outbreaks. Anything under 60 percent is unlikely to create enough herd immunity to stop the virus.
The big challenge will be making sure the vaccine works well in older people. The older you are, the less effective vaccines are. Your immune system'--like the rest of your body'--ages and is slower to recognize and attack invaders. That's a big issue for a COVID-19 vaccine, since older people are the most vulnerable. We need to make sure they're protected.
The shingles vaccine'--which is also targeted to older people'--combats this by amping up the strength of the vaccine. It's possible we do something similar for COVID, although it might come with more side effects. Health authorities could also ask people over a certain age to get an additional dose.
Beyond safety and efficacy, there are a couple other factors to consider:
How many doses will it be? A vaccine you only get once is easier and quicker to deliver. But we may need a multi-dose vaccine to get enough efficacy.
How long does it last? Ideally, the vaccine will give you long-lasting protection. But we might end up with one that only stops you from getting sick for a couple months (like the seasonal flu vaccine, which protects you for about six months). If that happens, the short-term vaccine might be used while we work on a more durable one.
How do you store it? Many common vaccines are kept at 4 degrees C. That's around the temperature of your average refrigerator, so storage and transportation is easy. But RNA vaccines need to be stored at much colder temperature'--as low as -80 degrees C'--which will make reaching certain parts of the world more difficult.
My hope is that the vaccine we have 18 months from now is as close to ''perfect'' as possible. Even if it isn't, we will continue working to improve it. After that happens, I suspect the COVID-19 vaccine will become part of the routine newborn immunization schedule.
Once we have a vaccine, though, we still have huge problems to solve. That's because'...
We need to manufacture and distribute at least 7 billion doses of the vaccine.
In order to stop the pandemic, we need to make the vaccine available to almost every person on the planet. We've never delivered something to every corner of the world before. And, as I mentioned earlier, vaccines are particularly difficult to make and store.
There's a lot we can't figure out about manufacturing and distributing the vaccine until we know what exactly we're working with. For example, will we be able to use existing vaccine factories to make the COVID-19 vaccine?
What we can do now is build different kinds of vaccine factories to prepare. Each vaccine type requires a different kind of factory. We need to be ready with facilities that can make each type, so that we can start manufacturing the final vaccine (or vaccines) as soon as we can. This will cost billions of dollars. Governments need to quickly find a mechanism for making the funding for this available. Our foundation is currently working with CEPI, the WHO, and governments to figure out the financing.
Part of those discussions center on who will get the vaccine when. The reality is that not everyone will be able to get the vaccine at the same time. It'll take months'--or even years'--to create 7 billion doses (or possibly 14 billion, if it's a multi-dose vaccine), and we should start distributing them as soon as the first batch is ready to go.
Most people agree that health workers should get the vaccine first. But who gets it next? Older people? Teachers? Workers in essential jobs?
I think that low-income countries should be some of the first to receive it, because people will be at a much higher risk of dying in those places. COVID-19 will spread much quicker in poor countries because measures like physical distancing are harder to enact. More people have poor underlying health that makes them more vulnerable to complications, and weak health systems will make it harder for them to receive the care they need. Getting the vaccine out in low-income countries could save millions of lives. The good news is we already have an organization with expertise about how to do this in Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
With most vaccines, manufacturers sign a deal with the country where their factories are located, so that country gets first crack at the vaccines. It's unclear if that's what will happen here. I hope we find a way to get it out on an equitable basis to the whole world. The WHO and national health authorities will need to develop a distribution plan once we have a better understanding of what we're working with.
Eventually, though, we're going to scale this thing up so that the vaccine is available to everyone. And then, we'll be able to get back to normal'--and to hopefully make decisions that prevent us from being in this situation ever again.
It might be a bit hard to see right now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We're doing the right things to get a vaccine as quickly as possible. In the meantime, I urge you to continue following the guidelines set by your local authorities. Our ability to get through this outbreak will depend on everyone doing their part to keep each other safe.
Back in 2015 when mocking Joe Biden for creepily touching the wives and daughter of Senators was all the rage, Jon Stewart did a hilarious segment on it when he was still with the Daily Show. In light of recent Tara Reade allegations, this segment really should be a killer for Biden.
Joe Biden is Joe Biden
Jon Stewart in 2015 on Joe Biden: "It's apparently a Senate rite of passage that you're not officially sworn in until Delaware Joe has felt up one female member of your immediate family."pic.twitter.com/DvVdrYj1EJ
'-- Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) April 30, 2020
We used to post a fair amount of Daily Show clips because from time to time Jon Stewart would be more fair than others in the MSM. He's long gone and I haven't watched the show since, but this clip is a testament to how funny his show was back then.
It just can't be a coincidence that Joe Biden is a groper and Tara Reade has been claiming for years that Biden groped her nether regions. Even in the video above you saw how uncomfortable Biden made that one girl feel. It was cringeworthy to say the least.
You know the old saying, where there's smoke there's fire. Well Biden might as well be a chimney because there's an awful lot of smoke.
Also, use this as an open thread. Here's another video that you might be interested in if you ever fly in airplanes'...
TRENDINGThis 2015 Jon Stewart video on Joe Biden should be a killer in light of Tara Reade sexual assault accusation'...NBC News gets TORCHED after tweeting fake news to make Trump look bad'...WATCH: Trump is asked about Joe Biden and Tara Reade and this is how he responded'...WATCH: Nancy Pelosi dismisses Tara Reade allegations when asked about them on CNNTed Cruz asks DOJ to monitor Bill De Blasio and NYC for discrimination'...SUBMIT A TIP Subscribe Via Email! Connect Login Register Log inEntries feedComments feedWordPress.org Places of InterestBREAKING NEWSThe Liberty DailyBongino ReportBad Blue NewsCNS NewsInstapunditMark Levin
VIDEO-COVID19 - Nurse challenges official narrative at a re-open rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, US - YouTube
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A woman says she was sexually harassed by presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden when she was 14 years old.
The woman, Eva Murry, told Law&Crime that Biden complimented her on the size of her breasts at the First State Gridiron Dinner & Show in 2008, a long-running roast of and party for politicians, journalists and prominent business figures held each year in Delaware. Murry says she remembers the event occurring sometime around May of that year.
One friend and her sister said that Murry told her details of the alleged incident more or less immediately after it happened. Four other friends of Murry's said they were told about the incident, with the same details, between two and three years after it originally occurred.
Law&Crime interviewed Murry, her sister, and those friends over the course of multiple days. Murry is the niece of former Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell and said she occasionally received school credit for attending such political events. O'Donnell was running a long-shot campaign against Biden at the time that the alleged sexual harassment incident occurred.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Biden is currently under fire over allegations that he sexually assaulted former Senate staffer Tara Reade in 1993 by penetrating her with his fingers without her consent. Biden's campaign has denied it and Biden went on MSNBC Friday morning to strongly refute that allegation himself.
According to Gridiron Dinner Secretary Cathy Klocko, the roast is held the first Saturday of every May, which would place the 2008 event on May 3 of that year. Klocko went on to note that until recently the event was secretive and did not release information such as guest lists or photographs of the event.
''I remember walking into the lobby and being in awe of all the people in such fancy clothes,'' Murry said in an interview. ''Our two parties of people gravitated towards each other and everyone started saying their hellos. When it was Biden and my aunt's turn to say hello he quickly turned to me and asked how old I was. I replied with my age and he replied with the comment 'Fourteen? You're very well endowed for 14!' I was confused but it was definitely weird, he looked me up and down and hovered his eyes on my chest so I had some clue [about] the notion of his comment but didn't fully understand at the time. We quickly separated from his area after the encounter.''
Eva Murry, March 2020.
Murry, who is 26 now and engaged with a son and daughter, was in middle school at the time Biden allegedly made the comments about her breasts. She said that she attended a few additional campaign events with her aunt after Biden made the alleged remarks and she described being anxious and feeling sick to her stomach around him or upon learning that he would also be attending any such future events.
''I feel his comments were verbal sexual harassment,'' Murry told Law&Crime. ''I think I was too naive to realize exactly what it meant at the time but I vividly remember the uncomfortable feeling I had in the pit of my stomach during the whole encounter. It wasn't Biden's words alone that made me so uncomfortable, it was the look, the tone, the whole general vibe was off.''
Murry acknowledged the timing of her allegation would likely invite accusations that she was acting politically but she insisted that was not the case.
Murry said that she was personally motivated to speak out because she began seeing Biden's name and face appearing all over Facebook in early April after Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic primary. She said that many of her friends started posting about voting for Biden. So, Murry started off by telling each of those friends her story. She says she did this over and over.
''It got overwhelming repeating myself on everyone's post,'' she said. ''So I made a master thread with the intentions of informing my friends and family who I care very much about, just what kind of man Biden is.''
Murry told Law&Crime she was upset about what Biden said to her rather than anything having to do with his politics.
''No man or woman should get away with acting that way and that is what this boils down to,'' she said.
Four of Murry's friends say that they were told about the incident. One said she was told about it around the time it happened. Two more said they were told about it in 2010. Three of those friends agreed to speak on the record.
''She was telling me about the event and explained what happened,'' Murry's friend Victoria Anstey told Law&Crime. ''I remember being so shocked. I didn't know who Biden was or anything. Just [that] she said he was an 'older man' was enough for me to not like the situation.''
Law&Crime verified Murry's and Anstey's identities by obtaining their driver's licenses.
''Eva is telling the truth,'' she added.
Anstey, 25, describes herself as a feminist, animal lover and a Democrat. She confirmed that Murry told her about the comments in 2008 when they were both teens. Anstey said Murry identified the man as Biden and said that hearing about the incident left her feeling angry.
''She told me he looked at her chest and she was well endowed,'' Anstey said. ''She looked very uncomfortable. I asked how old he was. She said like an older man. I said like old like a teacher or elderly and she said old like a teacher. I remember myself getting mad.''
Anstey also commented on the political dimensions of Murry's allegation.
''I can't stand Trump,'' she said. ''This isn't politically motivated. This is about men in power using their status to silence victims.''
''She was 14 and any man to think that those comments are appropriate are on the wrong side of history,'' Anstey continued. ''We can't let men (and females) keep getting away with these sexual comments. It's past due that society stop turning a blind eye. People seem to only care when it's someone they know, which is ridiculous. I want the next president to be a Democrat more than anyone but I can't overlook this. It's not justice for 14-year-old Eva. It would be doing her a disservice.''
A second friend, Katielynn Weaver, told Law&Crime that Murry first told her about it ''over ten years ago when we were younger.''
''I started going to Delaware with her and her family so it was pretty fresh for her dealing with it,'' Weaver said.
''The year was 2010 because I was 17 and just graduated and got my first car and that's what we would take back and forth trips to Delaware,'' she told Law&Crime. ''The incident happened before I met Eva but she told me about it prior to our first time arriving in Delaware.''
Eva Murry's older sister, Jenna Murry, also says she was told about the alleged incident ''within a week or so of the dinner.''
The elder Murry said she previously had ''a similar arrangement'' with O'Donnell, ''going around with her to political events'' when she was also 14. Jenna said she kept up with Eva though the two didn't talk much at the time because she was attending The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).
''I remember my mom mentioning at some point soon after that that Eva had met Biden and he'd made a weird comment,'' Murry told Law&Crime. ''The next time I was home from TCNJ Eva told me about the comment in detail from her perspective, specifically that he looked her up and down and stared right at her chest and made her feel really uncomfortable. I remember being really pissed off on her behalf and thinking that she was probably more upset than she was letting on and trying to be light hearted by that point, but seemed shook. I told basically all my friends about it at the time.''
Aileen Callaghan, another friend, said she first heard about the incident when she and Murry were teenagers. ''It was probably 2010 when she told me,'' she told Law&Crime. ''She mentioned that he was at an event she was with with her aunt and that he was a creep and was looking at her chest the whole time.''
''I remember she said that Biden was a pervy old man, and was like laughing but looking down when she told us,'' Callaghan continued. ''When she got to the details, she was clearly pissed that it had happened, and clearly hadn't known how to do anything about it.''
A fourth friend said that Murry told her about the alleged sexual harassment incident in 2010 or 2011 when both attended high school at the New Hope Academy in Yardley, Pennsylvania. The friend recalled Murry telling her Biden had made the comment about her body and that the two had nervously described the incident as ''creepy'' and wrong. The fourth friend spoke to Law&Crime on the condition of anonymity to protect her safety and career.
Murry originally detailed her accusations in a Facebook post on April 8.
''Back then I didn't know the meaning of this'' she wrote about Biden's alleged comments. ''[F]or those of you that still don't [know], it means Biden was telling me I had very large breasts for a 14-year-old. I learned shortly after what he meant and felt uncomfortable every time I met him afterwards.
Several additional friends of Murry's commented on the post noting that they recalled hearing about the incident and said Murry was courageous for speaking out. Attempts to reach one of those additional friends by Law&Crime were unsuccessful at the time of publication.
Murry addressed the support she received for speaking out in a later comment on the thread to that initial post.
''I've told friends [and] family for years but I've never publicly put it out there,'' Murry wrote. ''I vividly remember the anxiety I would feel going to these types of functions after that encounter, it sucked the excitement right out of it for me.''
''I'm worried about the internet bullies so I never put it out there but I went on to Facebook after putting my daughter down for a nap and Joe Biden's name was everywhere!'' she continued''describing the events of early April. ''I had to say something.''
Murry also noted that she encountered Biden '' about three times after that'' at similar such events and that ''his eyes never were on my face.''
[featured image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images; inline image Eva Murry with permission]
Chinese state media releases animated propaganda video mocking US coronavirus response - ABC News
A Chinese state media outlet has released an animated video using Lego pieces to mock the United States' coronavirus response and the Trump Administration's claims of an initial Chinese COVID-19 coverup.
Key points: Personified Lego characters representing the US and China satirised the Trump Administration The videos appear to be part of China's retort to claims over its coronavirus mismanagement Donald Trump has continued to repeat an unverified claim about the virus's originEntitled Once Upon a Virus, the short animation '-- released by China's official Xinhua news agency '-- takes the form of a back-and-forth between China and the US with China being represented by a Lego terracotta warrior and a team of hazmat wearing characters, and the US by the Statue of Liberty.
The dialogue begins with the Chinese warrior who stated they had discovered a dangerous new virus, to which the Statue of Liberty replied:
"It's only a flu ... Don't wear a mask", adding that China's "stay at home" measures were a violation of human rights.
Coronavirus update: Follow the latest news in our daily wrap. Explained: The story of the WHO It's long been the preeminent international health organisation, but questions have been asked about its response to several infectious diseases. Radio National's Rear Vision podcast looks at the story of the WHO.
The video purports that the US did not heed warnings from the Chinese Government but later accused China of "giving false data".
Last month, US president Donald Trump accused both China and the World Health Organization (WHO) of a COVID-19 cover-up, saying "the world received all sorts of false information about transmission and mortality".
The animation makes reference to the US's decision to halt funding of the WHO, which Mr Trump said promoted China's "disinformation" about the virus, "failed in its basic duty" and "must be held accountable".
"The WHO failed to investigate credible reports from sources in Wuhan that conflicted directly with the Chinese government's official accounts," Mr Trump said at the time.
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. Mr Trump claimed the WHO was ineffectual in the initial weeks of the coronavirus outbreak.The video also noted the US's labelling of lockdown measures the communist country implemented were "barbaric".
Coronavirus questions answered Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC's Coronacast podcast.
"It will magically go away in April," said the Statue of Liberty figurine, echoing a statement made by Mr Trump earlier this year.
The video was also posted on Twitter by the Chinese embassy in France.
The US embassy in Canberra told the ABC they had no comment regarding the video at this time.
COVID-19 had claimed 233,257 lives as of Friday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 3.2 million cases confirmed worldwide.
The US has reported the highest number of cases surpassing one million infections on Thursday with 63,019 confirmed deaths from the virus.
Your questions on coronavirus answered: Why are there still coronavirus sceptics around? What's next for Australian TV after coronavirus? Can I go to the beach this weekend?Mixed reactions on social media Some social media users said China had tried to cover up the virus when doctors first reported it.(Reuters)The post gained some support among Facebook and Twitter users.
"What a goddamn shame this is: Chinese are telling the truth," posted a user named Jeff on Twitter.
"Pretty much spot on, except that the US voice that was heard most often and most clearly was a political one," posted Steve Brunt on Facebook.
"It is by no means a reflection of the reaction of US epidemiological experts."
What the experts are saying about coronavirus: Coronavirus is focusing attention on how fragile global supply chains can be Modern technologies like a pandemic drone won't replace the need for social distancingBut others called the animation "fake news" and said China had conveniently omitted some information.
"In January you claimed human-to-human transmission was impossible," posted @trepur349 on Twitter.
Meanwhile, another user alluded to an incident earlier this year when whistleblower Doctor Li Wenliang was threatened by authorities for warning the public about the virus, and then later died from the infection while working to save others.
How fast is coronavirus growing around the world?This chart uses a logarithmic scale to highlight coronavirus growth rates. Read our explainer to understand what that means '-- and what we can learn from countries that have slowed the spread.Trump says China may have created virus Most experts believe the virus originated in a market selling wildlife in Wuhan.(Reuters: Thomas Peter)On Thursday, Mr Trump said he was confident the coronavirus may have originated in a Chinese virology lab, repeating previous unsubstantiated allegations.
When asked if he had seen evidence that gave him a "high degree of confidence" the virus came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, he said: "Yes, yes I have," but declined to give specifics.
"I can't tell you that. I'm not allowed to tell you that."
The Chinese state-backed Wuhan Institute of Virology has dismissed the allegations, and other US officials have downplayed their likelihood.
Most experts believe the virus originated in a market selling wildlife in Wuhan and jumped from animals to people.
Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak Download the ABC News app and subscribe to our range of news alerts for the latest on how the pandemic is impacting the world You can also get up-to-date information on the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Play and the Government's WhatsApp channel.Mr Trump also said on Thursday it was possible that China either could not stop the spread of the coronavirus or let it spread.
"But we're going to find out. You'll be learning in the not-too-distant future," he said.
"But it's a terrible thing that happened '-- whether they made a mistake or whether it started off as a mistake and then they made another one. Or did somebody do something on purpose?"
Mr Trump has shown increasing frustration with China in recent weeks over the pandemic, which has cost tens of thousands of lives in the US alone, sparked an economic contraction and threatens his chances of re-election in November.
What you need to know about coronavirus: The symptoms How to self-isolate When to wear a face mask The number of cases in AustraliaSpace to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. The Virus: We could be in for an 'early mark' on physical distancing measures
Reade: 'I didn't use sexual harassment' in Biden complaint
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Tara Reade, the former Senate staffer who alleges Joe Biden sexually assaulted her 27 years ago, says she filed a limited report with a congressional personnel office that did not explicitly accuse him of sexual assault or harassment.
''I remember talking about him wanting me to serve drinks because he liked my legs and thought I was pretty and it made me uncomfortable,'' Reade said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press. ''I know that I was too scared to write about the sexual assault.''
Reade told the AP twice that she did not use the phrase ''sexual harassment'' in filing the complaint, but at other points in the interview said that was the behavior she believed she was describing. She said: ''I talked about sexual harassment, retaliation. The main word I used '' and I know I didn't use sexual harassment '-- I used 'uncomfortable.' And I remember 'retaliation.'''
Reade described the report after the AP discovered additional transcripts and notes from its interviews with Reade last year in which she says she ''chickened out'' after going to the Senate personnel office. The AP interviewed Reade in 2019 after she accused Biden of uncomfortable and inappropriate touching. She did not raise allegations of sexual assault against Biden until this year, around the time he became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
The existence of the Senate report has become a key element of the accusations against Biden, which he has flatly denied. Reade says she doesn't have a copy of the report, and Biden said Friday that he is not aware that any complaint against him exists. He asked the Senate and the National Archives to search their records to try to locate a complaint from Reade.
But Reade is suggesting that even if the report surfaces, it would not corroborate her assault allegations because she chose not to detail them at the time.
According to a transcript of her 2019 interview with the AP, Reade said: ''They have this counseling office or something, and I think I walked in there once, but then I chickened out.'' She made a similar statement in a second interview with AP that same day, according to written notes from the interview.
On Friday, Reade said she was referring to having ''chickened out'' by not filing full harassment or assault allegations against Biden. In multiple interviews with the AP on Friday, Reade insisted she filed an ''intake form'' at the Senate personnel office, which included her contact information, the office she worked for and some broad details of her issues with Biden.
On Saturday, Reade told the AP there may have been a box to check on the form noting a sexual harassment complaint, but she couldn't remember and wouldn't know for sure until she saw the form. Reade also said she canceled a planned television interview with ''Fox News Sunday'' because of security concerns.
Reade was one of eight women who came forward last year with allegations that Biden made them feel uncomfortable with inappropriate displays of affection. Biden acknowledged the complaints and promised to be ''more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.''
During one of the April 2019 interviews with the AP, she said Biden rubbed her shoulders and neck and played with her hair. She said she was asked by an aide in Biden's Senate office to dress more conservatively and told ''don't be so sexy.''
She said of Biden: ''I wasn't scared of him, that he was going to take me in a room or anything. It wasn't that kind of vibe.''
The AP reviewed notes of its 2019 interviews with Reade after she came forward in March with allegations of sexual assault against Biden. But reporters discovered an additional transcript and notes from those interviews on Friday.
A recording of one of the interviews was deleted before Reade emerged in 2020 with new allegations against Biden, in keeping with the reporter's standard practice for disposing of old interviews. A portion of that interview was also recorded on video, but not the part in which she spoke of having ''chickened out.''
The AP declined to publish details of the 2019 interviews at the time because reporters were unable to corroborate her allegations, and aspects of her story contradicted other reporting.
In recent weeks, Reade told the AP and other news organizations that Biden sexually assaulted her, pushing her against a wall in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in 1993, groping her and penetrating her with his fingers. She says she was fired from Biden's office after filing a complaint with the Senate alleging harassment.
The accusation has roiled Biden's presidential campaign, sparking anxiety among Democrats. Republicans have accused Biden backers of hypocrisy, arguing that they have been quick to believe women who have accused President Donald Trump and other conservatives of assault. Trump has faced multiple accusations of assault and harassment, all of which he denies.
Reade says she was reluctant to share details of the assault during her initial conversations with reporters over a year ago because she was scared of backlash, and was still coming to terms with what happened to her.
Two of Reade's associates said publicly this past week that Reade had conversations with them that they said corroborated aspects of her allegation. One, a former neighbor, said Reade told her about the alleged assault a few years after Reade said it happened. The other, a former coworker, said Reade told her she had been sexually harassed by her boss during her previous job in Washington.
The AP has also spoken to two additional people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their families' privacy, who said Reade had told them about aspects of her allegations against Biden years ago.
One friend, who knew Reade in 1993, said Reade told them about the alleged assault when it happened. The second friend met Reade more than a decade after the alleged incident and confirmed that Reade had a conversation with the friend in 2007 or 2008 about experiencing sexual harassment from Biden while working in his Senate office.
Thompson reported from Nevada City, California.
EDITOR'S NOTE '-- The headline of this story was changed for clarity and to incorporate a direct quote from Reade. The AP also added material to the story, which details the specific words and examples Reade says she used in a Senate complaint about Joe Biden. The AP is adding the material to reflect that while Reade says she did not specifically use the words ''sexual harassment'' in the complaint, she says the behavior she was describing amounts to sexual harassment.
Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, ''Ground Game.''
Google News - Straight-talking Dr. Anthony Fauci is the voice Americans want to hear right now. So, who is he?
Across America, stadiums, entertainment venues and bars devoid of people are filled with something no one wants '-- stale beer growing older and flatter by the day.
The issue is not that America has stopped drinking. Americans locked away at home away from their favorite watering holes are consuming alcoholic beverages at a faster clip than usual. A Nielsen report found beer and cider sales are up roughly 20 percent, according to NBC News.
The issue is that all the countless kegs delivered in early March in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day and the NCAA men's basketball tournament are full of beer that is getting less and less drinkable by the moment, The Wall Street Journal reported April 24.
''This was the absolute worst time for this to happen for draft beer,'' said Craig Purser, chief executive of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. ''We have never ever seen an interruption like this where everything freezes in place.''
Kegs and kegs of beer are sitting untouched in stadiums, restaurants and bars. Brewers have to figure out what to do with it all before it goes stale. https://t.co/47lRBhslMa
'-- The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) April 26, 2020
TRENDING: New Mexico Governor Closes All Roads to City of 22,000, Forces Strict Lockdown
The NBWA is estimating about 10 million gallons of beer, or almost 1 million kegs, have been left to go stale '-- and that's just from March deliveries.
Other kegs are somewhere in the distribution chain, making the total hit to the industry about $1 billion, according to the NBWA.
Beer-makers would like to get those kegs back so they can be emptied and refilled for whenever lockdowns expire, but most places are not accessible. The Journal quoted executives as saying draft beer stays fresh in kegs for between two and six months.
Problems do not end when the kegs return, because the bad beer has to go somewhere. A mass dump down the drain would violate environmental rules.
''This is a hot potato because none of our businesses are set up to return massive amounts of beer,'' Dan Vorlage, marketing head for Denver-based keg logistics company MicroStar Logistics LLC, told The Journal. ''It takes three times as many trucks to transport full kegs than empty ones.''
MicroStar plans to treat all the beer it gets back to make it fit for disposal.
The economics of the beer industry are also shaky, given that establishments that bought beer from vendors have been closed for weeks and might not be able to pay for what no one drank.
''We're afraid lots of places will close and won't be able to open back up '-- they're on very thin margins,'' said Bob Pease, head of the Brewers Association, a trade body for small and medium-sized brewers.
RELATED: 93-Year-Old Woman Holds Up Sign in Window Asking for More Beer So Coors Delivers
D.G. Yuengling & Son will enlist the help of others to safely dispose of the flood of beer it expects to be returned.
''With each week going by more beer goes off,'' Yuengling Chief Operating Officer David Casinelli said, adding that kegs could go bad sooner than usual.
''The kegs could all be warm. We have no idea how the beer has been handled,'' he said.
Boston Beer, parent of Sam Adams, will brew returned beer into ethanol, according to CNBC. The company has been doing this for years but is stepping up the program as it expects a glut of returned beer.
Dogfish Head Brewery, a part of Boston Beer, is taking a slightly different approach. It is using high-proof ethanol to make hand sanitizer, Sam Calagione, its president told CNBC.
''Today we're making enough hand sanitizer per week in our facility to clean over half a million hands,'' Calagione said.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
NEW PHOTOS'... Kim Jong makes public appearance, or is it a body double? '-- You Decide'... '' CITIZEN FREE PRESS
Posted by Kane on May 2, 2020 12:00 amNEWS JUNKIES - CHECK OUT OUR AWESOME HOMEPAGE, UPDATED 18 HOURS PER DAY!
SEOUL, May 2 (Yonhap) '-- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended a fertilizer factory completion ceremony, state media reported Saturday, his first public appearance after 20 days of absence that sparked rumors about his health.
The official Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim cut the tape at the ceremony marking the completion of Sunchon Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory in Sunchon, north of Pyongyang, on Friday.
Photos released by KCNA showed Kim, dressed in a dark Mao suit, cutting the red ribbon during the ceremony and talking to accompanying officials with a smile on his face. They did not show any signs of an illness.
''All the participants broke into thunderous cheers of 'hurrah!' extending the greatest glory to the Supreme Leader who has brought about a new change in the development of Juche-based fertilizer industry and has led the grand revolutionary advance for strengthening self-supporting economy to a victory with his outstanding leadership,'' KCNA said.
''He looked round several places including raw material processing process, yellow phosphorus production process, ammonium phosphatic fertilizer production process, and packing process, being briefed about the production processes of the factory,'' KCNA added.
Kim was also quoted as expressing ''satisfaction about the wonderful creation'' and ''set forth the tasks and ways for developing our chemical industry in a correct orientation as required by the new century.''
North Korean leader Kim (C) smiles while joining a fertilizer factory completion ceremony in this photo released by KCNA on May 2, 2020. This marked his first public appearance after 20 days of absence that sparked rumors about his health. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea.
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"Remdesivir Is Probably Worthless" - A Trauma Surgeon Exposes "Drug Company's Shenanigans" | Zero Hedge
Markets got very excited (briefly) this week about a study finding a Gilead Sciences drug helped coronavirus patients heal a little more quickly.
But that was all the trial found: remdesivir isn't the miracle cure that will get us all out of lockdowns tomorrow, unfortunately.
Worse, as Bloomberg's Faye Flam writes, the trial was rushed to get quick FDA approval, without getting helpful information on what kinds of patients it helps or hurts the most; and now that the study is over, we've forever lost a chance to help doctors treat virus patients better.
All of which raises a significant number of questions and Acute Care Surgeon (and Asst Professor of Surgery at Wash U.) Mark Hoofnagle warns "I am truly sorry to say, Remdesivir is probably worthless..."
In an excellent Twitter thread, Hoofnagle details what he calls "some fascinating drug company shenanigans."
First, the pre-test probability that an infused, small-molecule inhibitor of a virus would improve mortality in symptomatic patients was already pretty low. Unfortunately, antivirals work poorly in acute disease. This has to do with their mechanism of action, and host response.
Antivirals usually target some aspect of viral replication/assembly/transmission. Remdesivir is a clever pharmacologic prodrug that inhibits a key piece of RNA viruses that mammals don't have - the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and inhibits viral replication.
Unfortunately, by the time you are symptomatic with a virus, you are usually already high/peak viral load. So, when you give an antiviral to someone who is already ill, the damage from the virus is largely done.
It's there in big numbers and in the cells.
Consistent with this, the Lancet paper on the remdesivir trial in China shows no impact on viral load clinically.
Pick your metaphor. The cat is out of the bag. The damage is done. At this point the host response to virus is activated, and your body is suppressing replication through a variety of mechanisms (which also make you feel terrible).
So how could inhibiting RDRP after the fact help? The answer is, it probably doesnt. It certainly didn't in this trial - no difference, not even a trend in mortality, but in subgroup analysis maybe shortened disease duration in early/mild disease.
Now, critics of stupid drugs that should never have been stockpiled by govts say, ''sounds like Tamiflu!''
Yes. This is the same as Tamiflu, which also maybe shortens flu by a day, but otherwise is a largely useless antiviral (and actually harmful with bad side effect profile).
Fortunately, side effects of remdesivir did not seem severe in this trial with only about 3x as many patients stopping than placebo, some rashes, nothing life threatening.
Where do the Shenanigans come in? Well, remember how maybe this Chinese trial showed a shortened course in a subset of patients? Like tamiflu? But didn't change mortality?
Well a month ago the NIAID trial changed their endpoints to remove death and instead look at dz duration.
They changed the destination half way through the race to match the only positive outcome of another trial, that they (or Gilead at least) certainly had a copy of the paper once it was submitted to Lancet.
Shenanigans! Get a broom!
Since NIH remdesivir trial is in the news...was there an explanation about why the primary outcome (now positive) was changed last month to 'time until clinical recovery?' @matthewherper https://t.co/fCTc1EGI1d pic.twitter.com/W1hAACnO1r
'-- Walid Gellad, MD MPH (@walidgellad) April 29, 2020This is like declaring a race and then when you realize you're not going to win, declaring the destination was actually wherever you are standing at the moment.
Then, even more fishy, *the same day* as this Lancet trial is release, Gilead and NIAID claim a ''positive trial'' and they've ''shortened the course of the disease significantly''. Notably, the mortality benefit did not reach significance.
By the end of the day, reports that FDA is going to emergently approve remdesivir for treatment of COVID.
Gilead gets what they want. No one will want to be in a control arm in further trials and they will argue all future trials must be non-inferiority.
Before we have the answer whether this drug actually changes anyone's destiny, it's going to become the gold standard therapy. We will likely now never know if (the unlikely possibility) it changes mortality.
Absolute genius. You have to salute them. On the day a negative trial of their drug is reported, based on a press release they took over the news cycle, and with some midstream edits to their endpoints their now ''positive'' trial wins them FDA approval and a halted trial.
It's an infusion, once symptomatic, you need an admission, a test, etc., really even symptoms are probably too late a goal for such a therapy to work. Prophylaxis (like Gilead's Truvada/PreP) would be better - but unworkable in its current form.
Either way, a big win for Gilead, but I'm unimpressed with any if the evidence presented so far that this is a game changer.
* * *
How long before Hoofnagle is banned from Twitter?
Hoofnagle is not alone in his skepticism.
Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith exclaims, it is disturbing to watch the push to con the public into seeing remdesivir as the only promising treatment for coronavirus, and points to a new study that found and tested 47 old drugs that might treat the coronavirus: Results show promising leads and a whole new way to fight COVID-19
Facebook Hires Campbell Brown to Lead News Partnerships Team - The New York Times
Campbell Brown said on Facebook that her new role would ''help news organizations and journalists work more closely and more effectively'' with the social media site. Credit... via Facebook Facebook is turning to a former television news journalist to help smooth over its strained ties to the news media, which views it as both a vital partner and a potentially devastating opponent.
It has hired Campbell Brown, a former NBC News correspondent and CNN prime-time host, to lead its news partnerships team, starting immediately.
The position is a new one for Facebook. In the role, Ms. Brown will ''help news organizations and journalists work more closely and more effectively with Facebook,'' she wrote on her Facebook page on Friday afternoon.
The addition of Ms. Brown comes as Facebook is struggling with its position as a content provider that does not produce its own content '-- that is, as a platform, not a media company.
Facebook's ambivalence in applying editorial judgment to the information coursing through its site has repeatedly drawn the company into trouble.
In the past few months, Facebook has faced criticism for giving too much prominence to fake news; for censoring as offensive an iconic Vietnam War photograph of a naked girl fleeing a bombing attack; and for allegations that members of its ''trending topics'' team, which is now disbanded, penalized news of interest to conservatives. In recent months, Facebook has taken several steps to try to limit the exposure of fake news on its site, including working with a group of news organizations.
Facebook executives emphasized that Ms. Brown's role was not to act as the sort of editor in chief that some commentators, including Margaret Sullivan, the Washington Post media columnist, have said it needs. They said she would not be involved in content decisions.
Rather, they said, she will work as a liaison with news organizations so that Facebook can better meet their journalistic and business imperatives and lessen some of their suspicion about the social media giant.
In recent years, Ms. Brown has emerged as a major player in the pitched political battles over charter schools, prominently clashing with teachers' unions while coming out against teachers' tenure. She is married to Dan Senor, a Republican foreign policy adviser and former White House adviser, who is making his own media foray with a bid to buy the Israeli financial newspaper Globes. And during the campaign Ms. Brown was critical of Donald J. Trump.
But Facebook executives said they were hiring Ms. Brown for her understanding of the news industry as a onetime White House correspondent, co-anchor of ''Weekend Today'' and primary substitute anchor of ''Nightly News'' at NBC News, and prime-time anchor on CNN, which she left in 2010.
Some commentators noted Ms. Brown's ties to the Republican donor Betsy DeVos, Mr. Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Education. Ms. DeVos's family foundation funds The 74, an education-focused journalism site co-founded and led by Ms. Brown.
In a post to the site on Friday, Ms. Brown said she was stepping away from her daily editorial role at The 74, but will remain on the company's board of directors.
Facebook declined to comment beyond Ms. Brown's original post on Facebook.
The social media site's relationship with the news media is, at best, in frenemy territory.
The company relies on major news organizations '-- including The New York Times '-- for reliable news content. News organizations, in turn, rely on Facebook for distribution to its 1.8 billion users, who are increasingly turning to its news feed for information instead of to news organizations' own home pages.
That shift has allowed Facebook to eat up a huge share of the online advertising market, contributing to devastating consequences for the ad-supported news organizations. So, Facebook has gotten double blame in recent months for enabling the circulation of false news items while contributing to the financial pressures that are causing the continuing, national wave of newsroom buyouts and layoffs.
Facebook executives said Ms. Brown would help find better accommodations between Facebook and its journalistic partners so that both find the partnerships equally worthwhile '-- whether through Facebook Live, its Instant Articles feature or its news feed.
The company does have some seasoned journalists in its ranks. But it does not have any in a senior position working on its newsroom partnerships, contributing to a disconnect between the company and news organizations when discussing how to collaborate on projects.
The GroundTruth Project (formerly the GroundTruth Initiative) is a 501(c)(3) left-of-center media and journalism nonprofit organization that covers local news. GroundTruth is the fiscal sponsor of Report for America, a group created in 2018 to insert left-leaning journalists into news organizations across the U.S. in order to fill ''a coverage gap'' in local news reporting. 
The GroundTruth Project is itself an initiative of GlobalPost, a Boston-based nonprofit media organization whose mission is ''to serve audiences as a distinctive content source for information, insights and cultural experiences essential to living in our diverse, interconnected world.''  Several of its largest contributors include left-of-center organizations the Ford Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation. 
BackgroundThe GroundTruth Project was originally founded in 2014 by journalists Steven Waldman and Charles Sennott. Based in Boston, MA, and functions as a part of the public television station WGBH Educational Foundation. The project is partnered with local news outlets including PRI's The World, PBS Frontline and NBC News. 
The name ''ground truth'' derives from a term coined by NASA which refers to their method of parsing information. 
Aside from Report for America, GroundTruth Project operates several outlets for mass media production and distribution. These include GroundTruth Films, which focuses on developing and distributing web-based short form documentaries and feature documentaries, and GroundTruth Podcast, dedicated to online and streaming podcasts on issues including climate change and income inequality.  
Report For AmericaLaunched in January 2018, Report for America is an initiative of GroundTruth Project with a mission to ''cover local news, recruit talented young journalists, and deploy them into local news organizations.'' It was launched in January 2018, and currently has up to 60 staffers working within 50 local news outlets primarily left or center-left leaning including the Associated Press, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the San Jose Mercury News.  The goal of Report for America is to ''place 1,000 reporters in community newsrooms in the next five years.'' 
Among its financial supporters Report for America lists John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Facebook, the Google News Initiative, The Tow Foundation, Galloway Family Foundation, Dirk and Natasha Ziff, the Ford Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Heising-Simons Foundation, Select Equity Group Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the Arthur Blank Foundation, and the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, many of which are aligned with left-progressive donors and causes. 
FundingSince 2014, GroundTruth Project has received $2,298,103 in grants from multiple center-left nonprofit foundations. Several of the largest grants were provided by foundations which include the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Galloway Family Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, the Select Equity Group, the Boston Foundation, the Further Forward Foundation Inc., and the Mary J. Donnelly Foundation. 
LeadershipCharles M. Sennott is the founder and current CEO of The GroundTruth Project. He had previously worked as a reporter for the New York Daily News and the Boston Globe, employed by the latter as bureau chief the Middle East and Europe between 1997 and 2005.  He was the co-founder of the digital news site GlobalPost, which formed the Groundtruth Project in 2014.
Steven Waldman is the co-founder of GroundTruth Project and the co-founder and current president of Report for America. Previously he had worked as National Editor of U.S. News & World Report and as National Correspondent for Newsweek before working as the senior advisor to the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. In addition, he co-founded both Beliefnet.com, a multifaith website, and LifePosts.com, a website for online memorials. 
Notable staffersKevin Douglas Grant is a co-founder and executive editor of GroundTruth Project as well as the vice president of Report for America. Previously, he had worked as the executive editor for digital media website Inform.com. 
Board of DirectorsChristopher Bake is a member of the executive committee and head of origination for the energy company Vitol, as well as chairman of the global oil and petroleum provider VTTI.
Jim Bildner is the CEO of the philanthropic group Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DPK). Between 2014-2016, the DPK Foundation had provided up to $250,000 in grants towards dark money organization and Arabella-managed firm New Venture Fund.  
David H. Feinberg is a founding member of the Los Angeles-based law firm Feinberg Law Group, started in 2002, and has worked with NY-based law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore as well as law firm Foley, Hoag & Eliot LLP. 
Alan Khazei is the founder of social nonprofit Be the Change Inc. as well as the former CEO of City Year, an educational organization and a program of civil society program AmeriCorps, which had been started under President Bill Clinton. 
Linda Mason is the co-founder of childcare organization Bright Horizons as well as Boston-based child welfare group Horizons for Homeless Children (HHC). 
Vivian Schiller is the CEO of media group Civil Foundation as well as the former CEO of center-left media group NPR and the Global Chair of News for Twitter. 
Calvin Sims is the CEO of nonprofit organization International House. From 2007-2013, he worked as a program officer for the left-wing Ford Foundation. 
Advisory BoardLynsey Addario is an American photojournalist and has photographed for the New York Times, Fortune, and National Geographic. 
Deborah Amos is a reporter for NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Previously she reported for ABC's Nightline and several PBS programs including Frontline. 
Justine Calma is a justice fellow for Grist, an environmentalist advocacy website which has received donations from left-leaning organizations including NEO Philanthropy, Kendeda Fund, and Surdna Foundation. 
Yuen-Ying Chan is a writer and founder of the Journalist and Media Studies Centre at Hong Kong University. She has additionally worked as a journalist for the New York Daily News and NBC News. 
H.D.S Greenway is a Navy veteran and is currently a journalist for the Boston Globe, with 50 years of journalism experience. 
Tracy Jarrett is a reporter and producer for left-of-center news organization Vice Media. 
Sebastian Junger is a journalist and filmmaker, writing the book The Perfect Storm and directing the Academy Award-nominated documentary film Restrepo. 
Gary Knight is a cofounder of GroundTruth Project and director of the program for narrative and documentary practice at Tufts University. 
Phillip Martin is a senior investigative reporter for WGBH News, a Boston-based news provider for PBS. 
Kerry Smith is the senior vice president of editorial quality for ABC News and is on the advisory board for left-leaning journalism organization ProPublica. 
Edwin J. Torres is a photojournalist and documentary photographer for GroundTruth Project and currently a staff photographer for the office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. 
Bob Woodruff is a news correspondent for ABC. 
Facebook is Spending Millions to Plant Radical Activists in Local Newspapers | Frontpagemag
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism
When the Alliance Defending Freedom helped a local church sue Chattanooga for banning its drive-in prayer service, the article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press repeated the Southern Poverty Law Center's smear of the religious civil rights organization as a hate group. But the reporter who wrote the article was no ordinary employee. Wyatt Massey was one of the 225 members of Report for America's 'corps' who are planted in local newsrooms to promote the radical agendas of the left-wing group.
''Will Trump's new public charge rule close door on immigrants' hope of the American dream?'' Manuel Obed asked at The Dallas News. Obed has been with the RFA 'corps' pushing out pro-illegal stories.
In 1976, William Garrison, along with two other thugs, broke into a home in Detroit, killed a man, and shot two other people. When Garrison recently died of coronavirus, the Detroit Free Press article treating him like a victim was written by Angie Jackson, another 'corps' member. Jackson's beat, according to Report for America, is ''formerly incarcerated citizens re-entering the community.''
While Report for America claims that it's funding local journalism, what it's actually doing is embedding social justice activists in local papers who are often targeted at pursuing a narrow political agenda.
Leah Willingham was placed at the Associated Press to focus on the "Mississippi state legislature" and its "actions affecting the poor", Kyeland Jackson was planted in Twin Cities Public Television to cover the "causes, effects and solutions to racial disparities in Minnesota", Shivani Patel was dispatched to the Ventura County Star to write about ''equity in education in the county'', and Devna Bose was shoved into The Charlotte Observer to report on "poor and minority communities in prosperous Charlotte".
The agenda is often built into the very description of what Report for America's activists are doing. Or at least it is to Report for America's donors who are told what the activists they fund are doing. But ordinary readers of local publications and stations are often not told that what they're reading isn't real local reporting: it's the work of activists funded by a national organization and its wealthy backers.
The lack of transparency is dishonest, unethical, and a new low even in the era of fake news.
The left-wing foundations and donors aren't funding journalism, they're buying coverage that fits their agenda. And local newspapers are renting out their newsrooms to wealthy left-wing organizations. Beyond the usual radical foundations like the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Knight Foundation, the Facebook Journalism Project has poured millions of dollars into RFA.
''Local journalists are providing us with an extraordinary public service 24 hours a day,'' Facebook's Campbell Brown, falsely claimed. ''We all need to understand how the virus is impacting the communities where we live'--it's vital information that's helping keep our friends and families safe, and we're proud to support Report for America in this effort.''
Except that Report for America's model is finding young activists and parachuting them into local communities to purse some narrow political agenda. That's not journalism. 6 of the activists from RFA's current class will be covering 'climate change', 9 will be covering poverty, and 4 will be covering prisons.
Report for America's focus on identity politics and its base of white lefties parachuting in to produce agitprop sometimes results ludicrous pairings like Samuel Bojarski, a Jewish freelance writer from Pittsburgh, being dumped into The Haitian Times to cover the Haitian community. But mostly its activists are young women, some have worked for lefty organizations, and their politics are predictable.
Facebook has often been accused of spreading fake news. Here it, along with the Google News Initiative, which kicked in $400,000, is literally financing a fake news project which pays half the salaries of the reporters it embeds in local newsrooms, while its own funding comes from wealthy left-wing groups.
Most newspapers are happy with the arrangement: it's the readers who are cheated.
Facebook has claimed that its Journalism Project will fight fake news, instead it's funding it. If the social media monopoly giant wanted to support journalism, it could do so in any number of ways. By financing Report for America's activism, it's helping fund papers on the condition that they run propaganda.
This isn't philanthropy, it's politics.
Not only is Facebook financing a political agenda, its funding of RFA represents an even deeper conflict of interest when the embedded activists from the left-wing group start functioning as fact checkers. The social media monopoly has used media fact checkers in an on and off way to censor conservatives.
The current RFA 'corps' class embedded Clara Hendrickson, of the left-wing Brookings Institute think tank, into the Detroit Free Press, where she's tasked with 'fact checking' Michigan politicians for the paper and for the PolitiFact site.
The conflicts of interest here are so convoluted that they require their own flow chart.
A research analyst for a partisan think tank is funded by a left-wing organization to 'fact check' political candidates for a major newspaper which has already accepted two other embedded RFA activists. PolitiFact then intends to treat her attacks on Republicans as 'facts', and Facebook, which is funding the whole shebang, will censor conservatives on social media based on her partisan hit pieces.
Fact checking already consists of partisan attacks by the media under the guise of objectivity. RFA is helping the media shelve even the thinnest pretenses of objectivity and ethics in pursuit of its goals.
Or, as Hendrickson tweeted, ''I'm thrilled to say I'll be joining @freep in partnership with @PolitiFact as a @report4america corps member, fact-checking federal, state and local candidates in a key swing state ahead of the 2020 election.'' Is 'fact checking' federal candidates any more important in a swing state? It is if your goal isn't searching for the truth, but helping Joe Biden win the White House.
Like its activist, RFA zeroed in on the 'key swing state' element to justify Hendrickson's role, explaining that, ''Michigan's need for fact-checking is particularly critical because it has been identified as one of only four true ''swing'' states in the 2020 presidential election'... additionally, there is a Senate race in Michigan in 2020 that is widely considered a toss-up.'' This isn't journalism, it's an election strategy.
Or, as PolitiFact Editor Angie Drobnic Holan noted in her gushing statement about the 'fact checking' site's partnership with a left-wing group, "We intend to fact-check the messaging of the presidential election, as well as the race for U.S. Senate." Actual journalists check their own facts. Activists redefine activism, partisan messaging, and hit pieces as fact checking because it still fools some people.
Here's a sample of Clara's commitment to truth and facts, "Spoiler: Trump's racist rhetoric has encouraged violence in America."
The only thing the PolitiFact partnership demonstrates is that 'fact checkers' are just as eager to rent out their coverage to wealthy donors as newspapers as long as it's for the same left-wing causes.
Brokering complicated entanglements between wealthy lefty donors, lefty non-profits, and newspapers into unethical conflicts of interest is one of the few things that Report for America does well.
The Kansas City Star accepted three of RFA's activists who will all be tasked with finding solutions to gun violence. These solutions will not involve locking up the shooters and throwing away the key. One of the RFA activists at the Kansas City Star is Humera Lodhi, a Muslim blogger at the Huffington Post, with a fellowship at the Marshall Project, a left-wing pro-crime think tank that blames gun violence on guns.
The Star not only managed to bring in an activist who is funded by one left-wing organization, but two left-wing organizations, while having her cover the very area of advocacy that is a major focus of the second organization. It's hard to imagine how this arrangement could be any more biased and unethical. But there's little doubt that Report for America will find a way.
Report for America is an initiative of the Ground Truth Project, a non-profit, which is partnering with for-profit papers, and the Project was born out GlobalPost, a for-profit organization. GlobalPost was going to use GTP to produce reporting for it. This conflict of interest went national when GTP was spun off into its own non-profit and RTA is used to seed content into for-profit publications.
Despite its peans to journalism, dumping a few activists into local papers and then paying half their salaries won't keep local news alive. If anything, it will help alienate more of the remaining subscribers. RTA is just another venture by former journalists to monetize the last remains of journalism by turning it into a political weapon. There's not much money in journalism, but lots of cash flowing into politics.
Corrupting, prostituting, and weaponizing journalism is helping destroy what little integrity it has.
RTA is eliminating what little difference there is between the media and political activism. It's not alone in the field, but it's the most successful organization and has the best financed of any of its rivals. Its founders have seen the bright future where journalism is a vestigial limb of political non-profits who instead of buying election ads, buy the whole paper without having to manage it or pay taxes on it.
And the whole thing is funded by the dot com monopolies who helped destroy journalism.
Kim Jong-un appears in public, North Korean state media report - TAthasTA
Kim Jong-un has appeared in public for the first time in 20 days, North Korean state media says. KCNA news agency reports that the North Korean leader cut the ribbon at the opening of a fertiliser factory. It adds that people at the factory "broke into thunderous cheers of hurrah" when he appeared on Friday. The reported appearance - his first since an event on state media on 12 April - comes amid global speculation over his health. The latest reports from North Korean media could not be independently confirmed. State media later released images that it said showed Mr Kim cutting a ribbon outside a factory. Asked about Mr Kim's reported reappearance, US President Donald Trump told reporters that he didn't want to comment yet. What does the state media report say? According to Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Mr Kim was accompanied by several senior North Korean officials, including his sister Kim Yo-jong. The North Korean leader cut a ribbon at a ceremony at the plant, in a region north of Pyongyang, and people who were attending the event "burst into thunderous cheers of 'hurrah!' for the Supreme Leader who is commanding the all-people general march for accomplishing the great cause of prosperity", KCNA says. Kim Jong-un and the brutal North Korea rumour mill US 'hasn't seen' Kim Jong-un recently, says Pompeo Kim Jong-un illness rumours denied by South Korea Sister or spymaster: Who might lead N Korea without Kim? Mr Kim said he was satisfied with the factory's production system, and praised it for contributing to the progress of the country's chemical industry and food production, the state news agency adds. What started speculation about his health? Speculation about Mr Kim's health began after he missed the birth anniversary celebrations of his grandfather, state founder Kim Il-sung on 15 April. The anniversary is one of the biggest events in the North Korean calendar, and Mr Kim usually marks it by visiting the mausoleum where his grandfather lies. Mr Kim had never missed this event. Claims about Mr Kim's ill-health then surfaced in a report for a website run by North Korean defectors. An anonymous source told the Daily NK that they understood he had been struggling with cardiovascular problems since last August "but it worsened after repeated visits to Mount Paektu". This led to a chain of reporting by international media on a single-sourced story. News agencies then began to run with that claim, and it was all they had until some reports emerged that intelligence agencies in South Korea and the US were monitoring the claim. But then came a more sensational headline in US media that the North Korean leader was in a critical condition after heart surgery. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to stoke the rumours on 29 April, by saying US officials "hadn't seen" Mr Kim recently. However, a statement from the South Korean government, and sources at Chinese intelligence - speaking to the Reuters news agency - said this was not true. Has Kim Jong-un disappeared before? Yes. Mr Kim went missing for 40 days in September 2014, after attending a concert. He reappeared in mid-October, using a cane. State media never explained where he had been. But South Korea's intelligence agency said he probably had an operation on his left ankle stemming from problems with a cyst. Caution is often tossed aside when reporting on North Korea. Thinly sourced, wildly speculative rumours can feed an industry aware that sensationalist headlines about Kim Jong-un are great clickbait. Reporting on the secretive state is difficult. Facts and sources are very difficult to obtain, especially since the country is even more closed off to the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The South Korean government was clear that it noted no unusual activity in the North. Seoul often has the best intelligence from Pyongyang. But even they have been wrong in the past. Let's be clear. Kim Jong-un could have been ill, or he could have had some sort of surgical procedure in the last two weeks. Or he could have been lounging on a yacht near his villa in Wonsan laughing at the world's wild speculation. His 20 day absence is not without precedent. There are still valid questions to be asked about a potential successor and what plans are in place should something happen to him. But there is one thing that has been lost in all of this. North Korea is more than one man. It is a country of 25 million people who are often overlooked. Today, Mr Kim's reappearance was at a fertiliser plant. The headlines will of course focus on his return, and on where he has been rather than on whether this factory will help the country tackle chronic food shortages. I assure you, that for the people of North Korea right now, that is just as important as the unexplained absence of their leader.
Air Force Is Building Flying Cars - Air Force Quiet Transports
The Air Force wants to cash in on the flying car craze to field a new type of transport.Flying cars would be quieter than other types of air transport, attracting less attention.A large enough electric car could someday replace the CV-22B Osprey. The U.S. Air Force is looking into fielding so-called ''flying cars'' to use as quiet transport vehicles. The Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition Will Roper wants to leverage the work of aviation companies to produce aerial taxis to create a military-grade vehicle. The result could be the 21st century's equivalent of a jeep or truck, but one that quietly flies from Point A to Point B.
DefenseOne, covering the Air Force Association's Air, Space & Cyber conference, quoted Roper as saying that the service is kicking off a new effort, named Agility Prime, to explore the possibility of acquiring a flying car or truck. An electric-powered flying car would be relatively quiet, allowing troops to travel near and across the battlefield without the loud rotor noise of conventionally powered aircraft. The sound of helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft can travel for miles, tipping off enemy forces on the ground.
A similar effort to adapt flying cars to carry special forces kicked off in 2016, but didn't go anywhere, due to the relatively small carrying capacity of flying cars. The head of Uber's aviation engineering department told DefenseOne that the small carrying capacity of the "cars" meant troops would travel in ones and twos, rather than the larger groups that can deploy from a V-22 Osprey or MH-47 Chinook. The special operations community evidently prefers transport in larger numbers to have an entire raiding force land at once in full strength.
U.S. Air Force CV-22B Osprey. Matthew Horwood Getty Images
The Air Force now appears to be tailoring the flying car concept to a different mission, away from special operations transport to something that could act more like a flying jeep, or truck.
''The task I gave the team was to prepare a series of challenges,'' DefenseOne quotes Roper as saying, ''from things that would involve smaller vehicles, maybe moving a couple of special aviators around, to things involving smaller logistics sets, ammo, meals, that kind of thing, out of harm's way, up to moving heavy logistics, like weapons to reload on an aircraft, all the way to a bigger system.''
The idea of moving weapons to reload aircraft is particularly intriguing. The U.S. military is moving towards the idea of distributed operations, scattering aircraft in smaller numbers across wider areas as a hedge against enemy attack. This could include using civilian airports and other locations to launch and recover aircraft. A flying car could rendezvous with F-35A fighter jets at a remote airfield, delivering a clutch of air-to-air missiles or other munitions to rearm the fighter for new missions.
The U.S. Air Force operates a variety of special operations aircraft, including the V-22 Osprey, for insertion and recovery of special forces troops from hostile territory. A larger version of a flying car could eventually replace the Osprey itself.
33 People Arrested During Sacramento Freedom Protest'... | The Last Refuge
Sometimes the headlines tell a story all by themselves'.... That's the case in Sacramento California where a group of frustrated and rebellious citizens sought to petition their home confinement order by using the first amendment.
Apparently protesting a governor for redress of grievances, during a time of arbitrary suspension of the first amendment to the U.S. constitution, is grounds for arrest.
As a result 33 Californians were were arrested for not complying with the governor's order they were protesting against.
Their failure of citizens to keep distant from each-other made them scofflaws to the dictates of the state government.
Video from the scene shows California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered fully armored riot police to surround the capitol building; and face down a group of rebellious moms and business owners.
The subversives who did not remain socially distant, during their protest about having to be socially distant, were promptly arrested.
CALIFORNIA '' Hundreds of people '-- likely more than 1,000 '-- crowded around the California State Capitol on Friday to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom's social distancing orders amid a pandemic that has now killed more than 2,000 Californians.
With nary a mask in sight, protesters called Newsom a tyrant and showed their support for President Trump, evidenced by Trump 2020 gear everywhere, including for sale. But despite the president's back-and-forth support of social distancing, most were quick to absolve him of their anger over current conditions in the Golden State.
Susan Dorrity, a retired mortgage broker from Modesto, said the president was smart to leave decisions about closures to governors.
''Not opening up as of May 1 is on the governor, not on him,'' she said. ''God is behind Trump.''
The demonstration was unauthorized and not permitted by the California Highway Patrol, but CHP officers did not disperse protesters until late in the afternoon when tense moments led to a handful of arrests.
A woman who identified herself only as Michelle expressed outrage as multiple California Highway Patrol officers secured her wrists with plastic ties.
''We were peacefully assembling and I am getting arrested,'' she fumed as her 14-year-old daughter stood by, separated from other family members. The young girl fled past the line of officers in tactical gear with batons out, into a press of protesters, searching for her sister. (read more)
At the conclusion of the Sacramento protest the California Highway Patrol assembled to discuss the successful arrests of 33 non-compliant individuals who stood too close to each-other violating the governor's social distancing rules. [pictured below]
(More Details Here)
Police in full riot gear outside the state house in Sacramento, California! Governor Gavin Newsom can't be happy with this crowd! ðððºð¸ pic.twitter.com/sVvfkDyEIW
'-- Shawnasaurus Rex (@ShawnG927) May 2, 2020
US plant-based meat start-up Nature's Fynd, backed by Jack Ma, Bill Gates, gets new funding from Al Gore as it targets Chinese market | South China Morning Post
Some of Nature's Fynd's products. Photo: SCMP Handout
The latest US$80 million funding round comes as African swine fever and coronavirus highlight how vegan meat is increasingly viewed as a sustainable alternative to animal proteinNature's Fynd is targeting regulatory approval from China and Hong Kong within the next 18 to 24 monthsTopic | Start-ups
Published: 7:00pm, 24 Mar, 2020
Updated: 10:22pm, 24 Mar, 2020
Some of Nature's Fynd's products. Photo: SCMP Handout
Coronavirus NSW: Dossier lays out case against China bat virus program | Daily Telegraph
China deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak in an ''assault on international transparency'' that cost tens of thousands of lives, according to a dossier prepared by concerned Western governments on the COVID-19 contagion.
The 15-page research document, obtained by The Saturday Telegraph, lays the foundation for the case of negligence being mounted against China.
It states that to the ''endangerment of other countries'' the Chinese government covered-up news of the virus by silencing or ''disappearing'' doctors who spoke out, destroying evidence of it in laboratories and refusing to provide live samples to international scientists who were working on a vaccine.
media_camera The P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. Picture: Hector Retamal/AFPREAD MORE
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China 'refusing' to let WHO take part in COVID investigation
It can also be revealed the Australian government trained and funded a team of Chinese scientists who belong to a laboratory which went on to genetically modify deadly coronaviruses that could be transmitted from bats to humans and had no cure, and is now the subject of a probe into the origins of COVID-19.
As intelligence agencies investigate whether the virus inadvertently leaked from a Wuhan laboratory, the team and its research led by scientist Shi Zhengli feature in the dossier prepared by Western governments that points to several studies they conducted as areas of concern.
It cites their work discovering samples of coronavirus from a cave in the Yunnan province with striking genetic similarity to COVID-19, along with their research synthesising a bat-derived coronavirus that could not be treated.
Its major themes include the ''deadly denial of human-to-human transmission'', the silencing or ''disappearing'' of doctors and scientists who spoke out, the destruction of evidence of the virus from genomic studies laboratories, and ''bleaching of wildlife market stalls'', along with the refusal to provide live virus samples to international scientists working on a vaccine.
Key figures of the Wuhan Institute of Virology team, who feature in the government dossier, were either trained or employed in the CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory where they conducted foundational research on deadly pathogens in live bats, including SARS, as part of an ongoing partnership between the CSIRO and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
This partnership continues to this day, according to the website of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, despite concerns the research is too risky.
Politicians in the Morrison government are speaking out about the national security and biosecurity concerns of this relationship as the controversial research into bat-related viruses now comes into sharp focus amid the investigation by the Five Eyes intelligence agencies of the United States, Australia, NZ, Canada and the UK.
media_camera Prime Minister Scott Morrison is speaking out in the interests of national security and biosecurity. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAPRISKY BAT RESEARCHIn Wuhan, in China's Hubei province, not far from the now infamous Wuhan wet market, Dr Shi and her team work in high-protective gear in level-three and level-four bio-containment laboratories studying deadly bat-derived coronaviruses.
At least one of the estimated 50 virus samples Dr Shi has in her laboratory is a 96 per cent genetic match to COVID-19. When Dr Shi heard the news about the outbreak of a new pneumonia-like virus, she spoke about the sleepless nights she suffered worrying whether it was her lab that was responsible for the outbreak.
As she told Scientific American magazine in an article published this week: ''Could they have come from our lab?'' Since her initial fears, Dr Shi has satisfied herself the genetic sequence of COVID-19 did not match any her lab was studying.
Yet, given the extent of the People's Republic of China's lies, obfuscations and angry refusal to allow any investigation into the origin of the outbreak, her laboratory is now being closely looked at by international intelligence agencies.
The Australian government's position is that the virus most likely originated in the Wuhan wet market but that there is a remote possibility '-- a 5 per cent chance '-- it accidentally leaked from a laboratory.
The US's position, according to reports this week, is that it is more likely the virus leaked from a laboratory but it could also have come from a wet market that trades and slaughters wild animals, where other diseases including the H5N1 avian flu and SARS originated.
CREATING MORE DEADLY VIRUSES The Western governments' research paper confirms this.
It notes a 2013 study conducted by a team of researchers, including Dr Shi, who collected a sample of horseshoe bat faeces from a cave in Yunnan province, China, which was later found to contain a virus 96.2 per cent identical to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused COVID-19.
The research dossier also references work done by the team to synthesise SARS-like coronaviruses, to analyse whether they could be transmissible from bats to mammals. This means they were altering parts of the virus to test whether it was transmissible to different species.
Their November 2015 study, done in conjunction with the University of North Carolina, concluded that the SARS-like virus could jump directly from bats to humans and there was no treatment that could help.
The study acknowledges the incredible danger of the work they were conducting.
''The potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens,'' they wrote.
You have to be a scientist to understand it, but below is the line that the governments' research paper references from the study.
''To examine the emergence potential (that is, the potential to infect humans) of circulating bat CoVs, we built a chimeric virus encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein '-- from the RsSHCO14-CoV sequence that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats '-- in the context of the SARS-CoV mouse-adapted backbone,'' the study states.
One of Dr Shi's co-authors on that paper, Professor Ralph Baric from North Carolina University, said in an interview with Science Daily at the time: ''This virus is highly pathogenic and treatments developed against the original SARS virus in 2002 and the ZMapp drugs used to fight ebola fail to neutralise and control this particular virus.''
media_camera President Xi Jinping waves to a coronavirus patient and medical staff via a video link at the Huoshenshan hospital in Wuhan on March 10. Picture: Xie Huanchi/XINHUA/AFPA few years later, in March 2019, Dr Shi and her team, including Peng Zhou, who worked in Australia for five years, published a review titled Bat Coronaviruses in China in the medical journal Viruses, where they wrote that they ''aim to predict virus hot spots and their cross-species transmission potential'', describing it as a matter of ''urgency to study bat coronaviruses in China to understand their potential of causing another outbreak. Their review stated: ''It is highly likely that future SARS or MERS like coronavirus outbreaks will originate from bats, and there is an increased probability that this will occur in China.''
It examined which proteins were ''important for interspecies transmission''.
Despite intelligence probes into whether her laboratory may have been responsible for the outbreak, Dr Shi is not hitting pause on her research, which she argues is more important than ever in preventing a pandemic. She plans to head a national project to systemically sample viruses in bat caves, with estimates that there are more than 5000 coronavirus strains ''waiting to be discovered in bats globally''.
''Bat-borne coronaviruses will cause more outbreaks,'' she told Scientific American. ''We must find them before they find us.''
AUSTRALIA'S INVOLVEMENTDr Shi, the director of the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Wuhan Institute of Virology, spent time in Australia as a visiting scientist for three months from February 22 to May 21, 2006, where she worked at the CSIRO's top-level Australian Animal Health Laboratory, which has recently been renamed.
The CSIRO would not comment on what work she undertook during her time here, but an archived and translated biography on the Wuhan Institute of Virology website states that she was working with the SARS virus.
''The SARS virus antibodies and genes were tested in the State Key Laboratory of Virology in Wuhan and the Animal Health Research Laboratory in Geelong, Australia,'' it states.
The Telegraph has obtained two photographs of her working at the CSIRO laboratories, including in the level-four lab, in 2006.
media_camera Shi Zhengli, director of the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Wuhan Institute of Virology, who working in Australia in 2006.Dr Shi's prot(C)g(C), Peng Zhou '-- now the head of the Bat Virus Infection and Immunity Project at the Wuhan Institute of Virology '-- spent three years at the bio-containment facility Australian Animal Health Laboratory between 2011 and 2014. He was sent by China to complete his doctorate at the CSIRO from 2009-2010.
During this time, Dr Zhou arranged for wild-caught bats to be transported alive by air from Queensland to the lab in Victoria where they were euthanised for dissection and studied for deadly viruses.
Dr Linfa Wang, while an Honorary Professor of the Wuhan Institute of Virology between 2005 and 2011, also worked in the CSIRO Office of the Chief Executive Science Leader in Virology between 2008 and 2011.
Federal Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson said it was ''very concerning'' that Chinese scientists had been conducting research into bat viruses at the CSIRO in Geelong, Victoria, in jointly funded projects between the Australian and Chinese governments.
''We need to exercise extreme care with any research projects involving foreign nationals which may compromise our national security or biosecurity,'' she said.
While the US has cut all funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the CSIRO would not respond to questions about whether it is still collaborating with it, saying only that it collaborates with research organisations from around the world to prevent diseases.
''As with all partners, CSIRO undertakes due diligence and takes security very seriously,'' a spokesman said. ''CSIRO undertakes all research in accordance with strict biosecurity and legislative requirements.''
IS THE RESEARCH WORTH THE RISK?The US withdrew funding from controversial experiments that make pathogens more potent or likely to spread dangerous viruses in October 2014, concerned it could lead to a global pandemic.
The pause on funding for 21 ''gain of function'' studies was then lifted in December 2017.
Despite the concerns, the CSIRO continued to partner and fund research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The CSIRO refused to respond to questions from The Saturday Telegraph about how much money went into joint research collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Science and its Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Wuhan Institute still lists the CSIRO as a partner while the US has cut ties since the coronavirus outbreak.
The argument is whether it is worth developing these viruses to anticipate and prevent a pandemic when a leak of the virus could also cause one. Debate in the scientific community is heated.
There have also been serious concerns about a lack of adequate safety practices at the Wuhan Institute of Virology when dealing with deadly viruses.
A ''Sensitive but Unclassified'' cable, dated January 19, 2018, obtained by The Washington Post, revealed that US embassy scientists and diplomats in Beijing visited the laboratory and sent warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety practices and management weaknesses as it conducted research on coronaviruses from bats.
''During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,'' the cable stated.
media_camera Australian Animal Health Laboratory, in East Geelong, is part of the CSIRO. Picture: Andy RogersUNLIKELY CLAIMS VIRUS CREATED IN LABScientific consensus is that the virus came from a wetmarket. But the US's top spy agency confirmed on the record for the first time yesterday that the US intelligence committee is investigating whether COVID-19 was the result of an accident at a Wuhan laboratory.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence acting director Richard Grenell said the virus was not created in a laboratory.
''The entire Intelligence Community has been consistently providing critical support to US policymakers and those responding to the COVID-19 virus, which originated in China,'' he said.
''The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified. As we do in all crises, the Community's experts respond by surging resources and producing critical intelligence on issues vital to US national security. The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.''
Despite Mr Grenell's statement and scientific consensus that the virus was not created in a laboratory, based on its genome sequence the governments' research paper obtained by The Telegraph notes a study that claims it was created.
South China University of Technology researchers published a study on February 6 that concluded ''the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan. Safety level may need to be reinforced in high-risk biohazards laboratories''.
''The paper is soon withdrawn because it 'was not supported by direct proofs', according to author Botao Xiano,'' the dossier noted, continuing to point out that: '''No scientists have confirmed or refuted the paper's findings', scholar Yanzhong Huang wrote on March 5.''
The Saturday Telegraph does not claim that the South China University of Technology study is credible, only that it has been included in this government research paper produced as part of the case against China.
CHINA'S COVER-UP OF EARLY SAMPLESThe paper obtained by The Saturday Telegraph speaks about ''the suppression and destruction of evidence'' and points to ''virus samples ordered destroyed at genomics labs, wildlife market stalls bleached, the genome sequence not shared publicly, the Shanghai lab closure for 'rectification', academic articles subjected to prior review by the Ministry of Science and Technology and data on asymptomatic 'silent carriers' kept secret''.
It paints a picture of how the Chinese government deliberately covered up the coronavirus by silencing doctors who spoke out, destroying evidence from the Wuhan laboratory and refusing to provide live virus samples to international scientists working on a vaccine.
The US, along with other countries, has repeatedly demanded a live virus sample from the first batch of coronavirus cases. This is understood to have not been forthcoming despite its vital importance in developing a vaccine while potentially providing an indication of where the virus originated.
THE LAB WORKER WHO DISAPPEAREDOut of all the doctors, activists, journalists and scientists who have reportedly disappeared after speaking out about the coronavirus or criticising the response of Chinese authorities, no case is more intriguing and worrying than that of Huang Yan Ling.
A researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the South China Morning Post reported rumours swirling on Chinese social media that she was the first to be diagnosed with the disease and was ''patient zero''.
Then came her reported disappearance, with her biography and image deleted from the Wuhan Institute of Virology's website.
On February 16 the institute denied she was patient zero and said she was alive and well, but there has been no proof of life since then, fanning speculation.
media_camera US President Donald Trump has been urging China to be transparent about how the virus spread. Picture: Mandel Ngan/AFPDESTRUCTION OF EVIDENCEOn December 31, Chinese authorities started censoring news of the virus from search engines, deleting terms including ''SARS variation, ''Wuhan Seafood market'' and ''Wuhan Unknown Pneumonia.''
On January 1 without any investigation into where the virus originated from, the Wuhan seafood market was closed and disinfected.
It has been reported in the New York Times that individual animals and cages were not swabbed ''eliminating evidence of what animal might have been the source of the coronavirus and which people had become infected but survived''. The Hubei health commission ordered genomics companies to stop testing for the new virus and to destroy all samples. A day later, on January 3, China's leading health authority, the National Health Commission, ordered Wuhan pneumonia samples be moved to designated testing facilities or destroyed, while instructing a no-publication order related to the unknown disease.
Doctors who bravely spoke out about the new virus were detained and condemned. Their detentions were splashed across the Chinese-state media with a call from Wuhan Police for ''all citizens to not fabricate rumours, not spread rumours, not believe rumours.''
A tweet from the Global Times on January 2 states: ''Police in Central China's Wuhan arrested 8 people spreading rumours about local outbreak of unidentifiable #pneumonia. Previous online posts said it was SARS.'' This had the intended effect of silencing other doctors who may have been inclined to speak out.
So the truth about the outbreak in China has remained shrouded in secrecy, with President Xi Jinping aggressively rejecting global calls for an inquiry.
The dossier is damning of China's constant denials about the outbreak.
''Despite evidence of human-human transmission from early December, PRC authorities deny it until January 20,'' it states.
''The World Health Organisation does the same. Yet officials in Taiwan raised concerns as early as December 31, as did experts in Hong Kong on January 4.''
The paper exposes the hypocrisy of China's self-imposed travel bans while condemning those of Australia and the United States, declaring: ''Millions of people leave Wuhan after the outbreak and before Beijing locks down the city on January 23.'' ''Thousands fly overseas. Throughout February, Beijing presses the US, Italy, India, Australia, Southeast Asian neighbours and others not to protect themselves via travel restrictions, even as the PRC imposes severe restrictions at home.'' In the paper, the Western governments are pushing back at what they call an ''assault on international transparency''.
''As EU diplomats prepare a report on the pandemic, PRC successfully presses Brussels to strike language on PRC disinformation,'' it states.
''As Australia calls for an independent inquiry into the pandemic, PRC threatens to cut off trade with Australia. PRC has likewise responded furiously to US calls for transparency.''
Chair of Australia's Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security Andrew Hastie said after the cover-up and disinformation campaign from China, the world needed transparency and an inquiry.
''So many Australians have been damaged by the mismanagement of COVID-19 by the Chinese government, and if we truly are as close as Beijing suggests we are then we need answers about how this all started,'' he said.
KEY DATES IN COVID COVER-UPNovember 9, 2015:
Wuhan Institute of Virology publish a study revealing they created a new virus in the lab from SARS-CoV.
December 6, 2019
Five days after a man linked to Wuhan's seafood market presented pneumonia-like symptoms, his wife contracts it, suggesting human to human transmission.
China's health authorities told a novel disease, then affecting some 180 patients, was caused by a new coronavirus.
Evidence of new virus emerges from Wuhan patient data.
Chinese internet authorities begin censoring terms from social media such as Wuhan Unknown Pneumonia.
January 1, 2020
Eight Wuhan doctors who warned about new virus are detained and condemned.
China's top health authority issues a gag order.
Wuhan Municipal Health Commission stops releasing daily updates on new cases. Continues until January 18.
PRC official Wang Guangfa says outbreak ''under control'' and mostly a ''mild condition''.
Professor Zhang Yongzhen's lab in Shanghai is closed by authorities for ''rectification'', one day after it shares genomic sequence data with the world for the first time.
PRC National Health Commission chief Ma Xiaowei privately warns colleagues the virus is likely to develop into a major public health event.
Officials in Beijing prevent the Wuhan Institute of Virology from sharing sample isolates with the University of Texas.
China's internet watchdog tightens controls on social media platforms.
Citizen-journalist and local businessman Fang Bin disappears.
Wuhan belatedly raises its official fatalities by 1290.
Ex-Green Beret Was Behind Failed Attempt At 'Armed Invasion' Of Venezuela Funded By US Billionaires | Zero Hedge
As we've recently observed, Washington's push to oust Maduro is by no means over, even if seemingly less intensified as well and central to media coverage. Currently for example, there's some level of build-up of US naval ships in the Caribbean ordered by the administration off Venezuela's coast for what the White House had described early last month as "counter-narcotics operations".
And now the Associated Press has unearthed the stunning details of a prior failed coup attempt that seem straight out of a Hollywood script, given it involved a plot centered on about 300 ''heavily armed volunteers'' who unsuccessfully tried to topple Nicolas Maduro in a ''private coup'' allegedly funded by US billionaires.
Former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau (center). Image via Silvercorp USA/Instagram/Daily Mail.The American overseer of the whole operation was a former Green Beret who ran secret training camps in neighboring Colombia, with the aim to infiltrate the group into Venezuela in order to fuel momentum for a broader 'armed popular uprising' la covert CIA-style Syria regime change ops.
The details are as follows according to the AP:
The plan was simple, but perilous. Some 300 heavily armed volunteers would sneak into Venezuela from the northern tip of South America. Along the way, they would raid military bases in the socialist country and ignite a popular rebellion that would end in President Nicols Maduro's arrest.
What could go wrong? As it turns out, pretty much everything.
The ringleader of the plot is now jailed in the U.S. on narcotics charges. Authorities in the U.S. and Colombia are asking questions about the role of his muscular American adviser, a former Green Beret. And dozens of desperate combatants who flocked to secret training camps in Colombia said they have been left to fend for themselves amid the coronavirus pandemic.
And like other more recent disastrous failed plots to oust the socialist strongman in Caracas, such as last year's short-lived rebellion a small group of Juan Guaido loyal officers, AP reports the "The failed attempt to start an uprising collapsed under the collective weight of skimpy planning, feuding among opposition politicians and a poorly trained force that stood little chance of beating the Venezuelan military."
After leaving the Army in 2016, Goudreau worked as a private security contractor in Puerto Rico and set up Silvercorp USA in 2018. Image via SilvercorpsUSA/Daily Mail.It's unclear the extent to which it had the official backing or coordination with US intelligence, or the degree to which it was an entirely private, 'rogue' undertaking, though Venezuelan state media has slammed the newly emerged plot as another failed CIA coup attempt.
Though at times while pitching and discussing his plan, ex-Green Beret Goudrea '-- who in 2018 established his private security firm Silvercorp USA '-- had contact with individuals linked to President Trump (such as a veteran personal bodyguard of Trump's) as well as a who's who of shady defected Venezuelan military officers, the AP report claims that any Washington officials or people of influence who caught a whiff of his bizarre plan rejected it and distanced themselves from it.
lt all began, according to the AP, after April 2019 with what's colorfully described as a ''Star Wars summit of anti-Maduro goofballs''. The report details:
Planning for the incursion began after an April 30, 2019, barracks revolt by a cadre of soldiers who swore loyalty to Maduro's would-be replacement, Juan Guaid", the opposition leader recognized by the U.S. and some 60 other nations as Venezuela's rightful leader. Contrary to U.S. expectations at the time, key Maduro aides never joined with the opposition and the government quickly quashed the uprising.
A few weeks later, some soldiers and politicians involved in the failed rebellion retreated to the JW Marriott in Bogota, Colombia. The hotel was a center of intrigue among Venezuelan exiles. For this occasion, conference rooms were reserved for what one participant described as the ''Star Wars summit of anti-Maduro goofballs'' '-- military deserters accused of drug trafficking, shady financiers and former Maduro officials seeking redemption.
Among those angling in the open lobby was Jordan Goudreau, an American citizen and three-time Bronze Star recipient for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he served as a medic in U.S. Army special forces, according to five people who met with the former soldier.
Those he interacted with in the U.S. and Colombia described him in interviews alternately as a freedom-loving patriot, a mercenary and a gifted warrior scarred by battle and in way over his head.
The 43-year old Goudreau soon landed a spot helping to organize security for the February 2019 controversial 'Live Aid freedom-type' opposition supporting concert put on by British billionaire Richard Branson, held on the Venezuelan-Colombian border.
British billionaire Richard Branson on the Venezuelan-Colombian border at his concern in support of opposition leader Juan Guaido, via Getty Images/Daily Mail.Goudreau had later written of the event: ''Controlling chaos on the Venezuela border where a dictator looks on with apprehension,'' according to an Instagram post showing him working the concert, which attempted to gem up popular support for ousting Maduro.
The invasion plans involving 300 trained and armed rebel soldiers hinged on Goudreau working closely with a ringleader of the Venezuelan military deserters, Cliver Alcal, previously a retired major general in Venezuela's army, as AP continues:
Goudreau told Alcal his company could prepare the men for battle, according to the three sources. The two sides discussed weapons and equipment for the volunteer army, with Goudreau estimating a budget of around $1.5 million for a rapid strike operation.
Goudreau told participants at the meeting that he had high-level contacts in the Trump administration who could assist the effort, although he offered few details, the three people said. Over time, many of the people involved in the plan to overthrow Maduro would come to doubt his word.
From the outset, the audacious plan split an opposition coalition already sharply divided by egos and strategy. There were concerns that Alcal, with a murky past and ties to the regime through a brother who was Maduro's ambassador to Iran, couldn't be trusted. Others worried about going behind the backs of their Colombian allies and the U.S. government.
However, training camps along the border appeared spartan and ill-prepared, with recruits sleeping in barren conditions with lack of enough food and weaponry.
Goudreau marketing himself as a slick head of a multi-national contractor firm, via SilvercorpUSA/Daily Mail.But documented evidence shows plans for major weapons shipments, some of which reportedly did arrive and were later recovered inside Venezuela's borders by Maduro's military:
The volunteers also shared with Mattos a three-page document listing supplies needed for a three-week operation, which he provided to AP. Items included 320 M4 assault rifles, an anti-tank rocket launcher, Zodiac boats, $1 million in cash and state-of-the-art night vision goggles. The document's metadata indicates it was created by Goudreau on June 16.
''Unfortunately, there's a lot of cowboys in this business who try to peddle their military credentials into a big pay day,'' said Mattos.
The CIA among other US agencies would deny ever having anything to do with Goudreau and the ultimately failed plan.
However, the report emphasizes it had the support of particular American billionaire businessmen. AP describes:
When the Colombians checked with their CIA counterparts in Bogota, they were told that the former Green Beret was never an agent. Alcal was then told by his hosts to stop talking about an invasion or face expulsion, the former Colombian official said.
It's unclear where Alcal and Goudreau got their backing, and whatever money was collected for the initiative appears to have been meager. One person who allegedly promised support was Roen Kraft, an eccentric descendant of the cheese-making family who '-- along with former Trump bodyguard Schiller '-- was among those meeting with opposition envoys in Miami and Washington.
At some point, Kraft started raising money among his own circle of fellow trust-fund friends for what he described as a ''private coup'' to be carried out by Silvercorp, according to two businessmen whom he asked for money.
Getty imagesThe ragtag poorly planned 'invasion' was thwarted by the Venezuelan military essentially at the border from the start:
The plot quickly crumbled in early March when one of the volunteer combatants was arrested after sneaking across the border into Venezuela from Colombia.
Shortly after, Colombian police stopped a truck transporting a cache of brand new weapons and tactical equipment worth around $150,000, including spotting scopes, night vision goggles, two-way radios and 26 American-made assault rifles with the serial numbers rubbed off. Fifteen brown-colored helmets were manufactured by High-End Defense Solutions, a Miami-based military equipment vendor owned by a Venezuelan immigrant family.
Currently, the main organizers, including Alcal and Goudreau himself, are in prison. The ex-Green Beret is now in US federal custody reportedly on narcotic charges, but the details remain unclear.
VIDEO-EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Robert Kennedy Jr. Destroys Big Pharma, Fauci & Pro-Vaccine Movement - YouTube
The response to the coronavirus is hyped. And in time, this hype will be revealed as politically hoaxed.
In fact, COVID-19 will go down as one of the political world's biggest, most shamefully overblown, overhyped, overly and irrationally inflated and outright deceptively flawed responses to a health matter in American history, one that was carried largely on the lips of medical professionals who have no business running a national economy or government.
The facts are this: COVID-19 is a real disease that sickens some, proves fatal to others, mostly the elderly '-- and does nothing to the vast majority.
That, in a nutshell, is it.
SEE ALSO: Eighty percent of the population has little or nothing to fear from COVID-19
Or, in the words of Dan Erickson and Artin Massih, doctors and co-owners of Accelerated Urgent Care in Bakersfield, California: Let's get the country reopened '-- and now.
''Do we need to still shelter in place? Our answer is emphatically no. Do we need businesses to be shut down? Emphatically no. '... [T]he data is showing it's time to lift,'' Ericksonsaid, in a recent interview.
He's right. They're right.
The data to keep America closed and Americans closed in simply doesn't exist.
If truth be told, it's questionable it ever did.
The scientists leading the coronavirus shutdown charge predicted in March that in America, between 100,000 and 250,000 would die. They based those estimates on computer modeling.
But at the same time they were basing those estimates on computer modeling, they were acknowledging that computer modeling is inaccurate and errs on the side of hype.
''I've never seen a model of the diseases I've dealt with where the worst-case actually came out,'' said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Donald Trump's White House coronavirus task force, during a CNN interview in March. ''They always overshoot.''
Catch that? Fauci's message: Computer models are flawed and inaccurate and always overestimate the problem.
But from these faulty overinflated computer figures came all the constitutionally questionable actions by government anyway '-- from ordering businesses closed to quarantining-slash-house arresting American citizens to doing some quick and pitiful and economically painful income redistribution schemes via stimulus funds' legislation.
Since, about 56,000 have died in America due to coronavirus '-- or have they? Again, the facts are flimsy.
Government ordered hospitals weeks ago to stop performing elective surgeries to make way for the projected numbers of coronavirus patients. So they did. And in so doing, they cut off their revenue streams. So Congress passed legislation giving hospitals billions of dollars to treat coronavirus patients. Conflict of interest? Yikes. Yes.
The coronavirus counts, already flawed from computer modeling, were then given another flaw treatment.
''[Pennsylvania] removes more than 200 deaths from official coronavirus count as questions mount about reporting process, data accuracy,'' The Inquirer reported.
Add to that the ever-changing nature of a virus that spreads by air and contact, and honestly, suddenly, even expert Fauci's best guess is about as good as Joe Neighbor's best guess. So that leaves common sense, combined with knowledge of past viruses, to guide.
But the quote-unquote medical experts refused to go there, refused to acknowledge common sense, refused to compare with past viruses in any way that didn't hype the coronavirus counts.
This virus was different, Americans were told. This virus was far more contagious than anything ever before seen or studied, Americans were told. And any time the case counts dropped off and the numbers proved wrong, well, this was due to the social distancing and quarantining and face-mask wearing that Americans had been doing, by government's order '-- Americans were told.
It just didn't make sense.
It just doesn't add up.
It just didn't, and doesn't, justify the utter shredding of civil rights.
And now some in the medical community, thank goodness, are starting to point out the glaring omissions of logic and fact that have plagued this overhyped, overreaching coronavirus crackdown that has stretched on far, far too long.
Among some of Erickson's remarks: ''This is immunology '-- microbiology 101. This is the basis of what we've known for years: When you take human beings and you say, 'Go into your house, clean all your counters, Lysol them down' '... what does it do to our immune system? '... Sheltering in place decreases your immune system.''
And this: ''Any time you have something new in the [medical] community, it sparks fear '-- and I would have done what Dr. Fauci did '... initially. '... But you know, looking at theories and models '-- which is what these folks use '-- is very different than the way the actual virus presents itself throughout communities.''
And this: ''Do you think you're protected from COVID when you wear gloves that transfer disease everywhere? '... We wear masks in an acute setting to protect us. [But] we're not wearing masks. Why is that? Because we understand microbiology. We understand immunology. And we want strong immune systems. I don't want to hide in my home, develop a weak immune system and then come out and get disease.''
And this: ''When I'm writing up my death report I'm being pressured to add COVID. Why is that? Why are we being pressured to add COVID? To maybe increase the numbers, and make it look a little bit worse than it is. We're being pressured in-house to add COVID to the diagnostic list when we think it has nothing to do with the actual cause of death. The actual cause of death was not COVID, but it's being reported as one of the diseases processes. '... COVID didn't kill them, 25 years of tobacco use killed.''
Does it get any clearer than that?
Seriously, America. The only reason America is still in shutdown mode is political.
Either politicians are too afraid to make any move that might come back to bite them politically or politicians are using this coronavirus to political advantage '-- to, say, pass gun control laws, like Virginia's governor, Ralph Northam. Or to, say, float campaign hopes on the current ravaged economy, like former Vice President Joe Biden and oh, all the Democrats facing races.
But for the rest of America '-- the rest of hardworking, freedom-loving America '-- it's time to reel in the radically unconstitutional.
''If you're going to dance on someone's constitutional rights, you better have a good reason '-- you better have a really good reason, not just a theory,'' Erickson said. ''The data is showing us it's time to lift '... so if we don't lift, what is the reason?''
That is the key question.
As time goes by, the answer will only become more and more evident. The coronavirus may be real '-- but the hype is hoaxed. Now let's just hope this is a one-time hoax that doesn't roll around every time flu season approaches.
' Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast ''Bold and Blunt'' by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.
Copyright (C) 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.
RCMP were in 'process of preparing' emergency alert when Nova Scotia murderer was killed
(C) Andrew Vaughan An RCMP investigator inspects vehicles destroyed by fire at the residence of Alanna Jenkins and Sean McLean, both corrections officers, in Wentworth Centre, N.S. on Monday, April 20, 2020. A retired high-ranking Mountie says the investigation into one of Canada's worst mass killings will tax the resources of Nova Scotia RCMP. OTTAWA '' The RCMP says it was still drafting an emergency alert message to be broadcast on mobile devices and televisions province-wide when police officers shot down the suspected gunman after he went on a more than 13-hour rampage through Nova Scotia that saw at least 22 victims murdered. RCMP officials said Tuesday that some of the delay wast he result of lags in communications between government and police.
It was around 10:26 p.m. on Saturday evening local time that Nova Scotia RCMP responded to a first call for a ''possible shooting'' in the rural community of Portapique, N.S. that led them to the first of the weekend's murders.
Fourteen hours later, the police were still working on drafts for an emergency alert message intended to be transmitted to all cellular phones and on all television stations through the province's Ready Alert system, after a request from the government's Emergency Management Office on Sunday morning. The provincial government said it had made multiple requests for an emergency alert message and the RCMP had already posted multiple warnings to Nova Scotians on Twitter and Facebook. No emergency alert was ever issued on cell phones or on television.
''(The province's Emergency Management Office) had reached out a number of times throughout the morning to the RCMP'' asking for a message to be sent out as an alert, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil revealed on Wednesday.
''We were in the process of preparing an alert when the gunman was shot and killed by the RCMP,'' Nova Scotia RCMP Chief Supt. Chris Leather explained later during a separate press conference.
He also confirmed that the province's Emergency Management Office (EMO) had reached out around 10:15 a.m. on Sunday asking if they wanted an emergency alert sent out to all cellphones and televisions in the province. At 11:40 a.m., the suspect, Gabriel Wortman, was shot, and killed by RCMP officers at a gas station in Enfield, 92 kilometres south of Portapique.
According to Leather's response, it was only when the request came in at a quarter past 10 that morning that the police force starting working through the chain of command to see if an alert should be put out and what it should read.
''The original call to the RCMP was to one of our members at headquarters. There was then a series of phone calls that had to be made to find the officer in charge, then speak to the incident commander, have a conversation about the issuing of a message. So a lot of the delay was based on communications between the EMO and the various officers,'' Leather described.
''And then a discussion about how the message would be constructed and what it would say. In that hour and a bit of consultation, the subject (Wortman) was killed,'' he continued.
A growing chorus of voices, ranging from experts to family and friends of victims, are harshly criticizing the RCMP for not having used the province's Ready Alert system to warn Nova Scotians about the murderer on the loose.
The province had used the system a little more than a week earlier to warn Nova Scotians to avoid gathering during the long Easter weekend because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But as the murderer, who was disguised as a police officer, travelled different communities killing more people along the way, RCMP relied on Twitter and Facebook to issue warnings about the gunman and his fake RCMP vehicle as well as posting advisories telling people to stay inside during the manhunt.
But internet access is spotty in some remote areas of Nova Scotia and the local RCMP's Twitter account has less than 100,000 followers (not all of which are Nova Scotians) in a province of nearly one million.
(C) Riley Smith/The Canadian Press RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather fields questions about the recent mass shooting at a news conference at RCMP headquarters in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, April 20, 2020. ''I feel strongly about that. I do feel if we had received an alert, an Amber alert, we've had COVID-19 alerts '... then many people might have been spared,'' Heather Matthews told CBC News on Tuesday. Matthews is a longtime friend of Lillian Hyslop, who was killed by Wortman while she was out for a walk.
As a justification for the delay in drafting the alert message, RCMP officials said their response was ''dynamic and fluid'' throughout the manhunt, and normal procedure during an incident is to relay information on Twitter.
''Our critical incident command staff were processing fast-changing information related to what was unfolding in front of them and what they were being told of,'' Leather explained.
''I am very satisfied with our messaging on Twitter,'' he added when asked about the information being sent out on social media throughout the manhunt.
RCMP officials once again refused to answer questions as to the two cases that were referred to the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), the body that investigates police incidents.
A report published by the Truro Daily on Wednesday claims that two RCMP officers showed up to a hall being used as a registration centre for evacuees from the manhunt, failed to identify themselves, and fired shots on the building.
''We can confirm that around 10:30 a.m. there was gunfire at our hall and the gunfire caused considerable damage to our property, including taking one of our trucks out of service,'' reads a since-deleted Facebook post by the Onslow Belmont Fire Brigade hall, as quoted by the Truro Daily.
''Our video surveillance does not capture the shooters but does show two people who appear to be RCMP officers enter our property, one to the front and one to the rear. One of these people enters our hall at the front but no one who is sheltered inside the hall spoke with the people/person resembling the RCMP officer so we (cannot) confirm why they were there. No one identified themselves as an RCMP officer. They left our property shortly after the gunfire,'' the posting also read.
The newspaper also quoted a neighbour to the firehall, Joy McCabe, saying she saw two officers get out of their cars and fire ''multiple rounds.''
''And while I'm looking, that car pulled up right there in the middle of the road, opened both doors and started shooting,'' McCabe told the Truro Daily.
SHUBENACADIE, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - Canadian police faced mounting criticism on Wednesday for using social media and not a provincial emergency alert system to notify the public that a gunman was at large for some 13 hours after he murdered the first of his 22 victims over the weekend.
Krista Hughes adjusts flowers that had blown away from a makeshift memorial for Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Constable Heidi Stevenson, who was shot dead during Sunday's killing spree that worked it's way across several Nova Scotian communities, in Shubenacadie, near Enfield, Nova Scotia, Canada April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Tim Krochak
During the worst mass shooting in the country's history, the Nova Scotia provincial detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) sent a series of tweets to about 90,000 followers warning that there was an active shooter in the area.
But some of the families and friends of the victims said a provincial warning system, which would have sent out text, radio and TV warnings, might have saved the lives of their loved ones.
''I don't use Twitter, and I don't know anyone that does use Twitter,'' Nick Beaton said in an interview broadcast by CTV News. Beaton's wife, Kristen, a nurse and mother from Debert, was shot dead on Sunday while on her way to work.
Beaton said he would have never let his wife leave the house that morning had he known the gunman was still at large.
Nova Scotia RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather defended the use of social media on Wednesday, saying he was ''very satisfied'' with the messaging, which he said the media helped spread, and that the ''communications being provided were the best and clearest information that could be provided.''
Police were in the process of preparing to use the emergency alert system when the gunman was shot and killed by police, Leather said.
The shooter, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, began the rampage on Saturday night which continued in several small Nova Scotian towns and ended around noon on Sunday.
Wortman's motive remains unknown. Police have said some of his victims were known to him, but others appear to have been chosen randomly.
Police are still piecing together the timeline of events, Leather said, adding more details could come on Thursday. Wortman did not possess a firearms license in Canada, he said.
Police set up two barriers around the initial crime scene in Portapique on Saturday night, but they did not realize until between 7 and 8 o'clock the next morning that the shooter had disguised himself as an RCMP officer and was driving a vehicle resembling a police car.
There are 22 confirmed victims, but police have cautioned they are still investigating crime scenes, including more than five homes Wortman burned to the ground.
Meghan Nearing, a resident of the area where many of Wortman's victims lived, was home with her son on Saturday night and heard about the shootings, but did not know the gunman was still active when she woke up the next morning.
''There was nothing, no alert, so I thought everything was OK,'' she told Reuters, speaking not far from where RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson was shot and killed by Wortman on Sunday.
''Little did I know he was in my town when I was thinking that.''
Reporting by Tim Krochak in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia; Writing by Moira Warburton and Steve Scherer; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Matthew Lewis
"The Whole Thing's A Farce" - 'Conspiracy Theories' Thrive As Texans Flock Back To Shopping Malls | Zero Hedge
Texas is the largest US state to allow a substantial number of retailers and other businesses to reopen for the first time on Friday, even as many of the state's Democratic big-city mayors urged residents and business owners to ignore the governor's advice.
To try and get a sense of how the beating heart of Texas retail - the Barton Creek Square in Austin - was faring during its first day back in business, the dogged reporters at the Texas Tribune ventured out to the capital city's biggest mall to commiserate with shoppers bold enough to risk infection over a pair of sneakers, as the TT piece put it.
What the reporters found was hardly surprising: stores barely managing to meet the 25% max-capacity threshold set by the governor, a threshold at which most businesses simply cannot operate profitably. As a result, only a handful of Barton Creek's smaller stores were open; all of the mall's anchor tenants - department stores that have been particularly hard hit by the downturn - remained closed.
By the time the mall opened at 11am local time yesterday, lines of shoppers had formed, with everyone standing six feet apart, and lines forming outside stores allowing only a handful of shoppers to enter at a time.
Most of the patrons were there to shop, it seemed - little things mostly; shoes, swimsuits etc. At least one told the TT that she was just out to get some exercise. They ranged from young couples to older singletons.
No temperature-checkers were present when the doors opened; no masks, nor sanitizing wipes, were handed out. Shoppers were basically left to look after themselves
John Whitton and Marina Oneill stood by their car outside wearing face masks - Oneill's a DIY mask made by her roommate from a bra cup - waiting to buy a swimsuit (for Oneill) and shoes (for Whitton).
"I think I'm going to buy a pair of skate shoes and take it back to 2002," Whitton said.
One thing that caught our attention: the surprising number of individuals interviewed by the TT to expressed doubt about the virus (one called the outbreak "a farce") or endorsed some other conspiratorially-oriented view.
By 10:58, a line had formed outside an entrance adjacent to the Cheesecake Factory. Patrons, many wearing masks, kept a 6-foot distance from one another, aided by blue tape pressed onto the concrete to direct them where to stand.
The line included an avid mall-walker hoping to exercise away from the Texas heat, a mother whose young kids '-- each no older than 10 '-- all wore face masks and an Austin-area teacher convinced the coronavirus was cooked up by President Donald Trump, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Though most customers wore masks, as mandated by law, only a handful of patrons wore gloves.
Shoppers were antsy. Resigned, too.
"I think it's all a big farce. I believe there's a virus, but we have bird flu and pneumonia and I've had several shots," said Charlene Franz, 65, who came to the mall to fix the cracked screen on her Cricket cellphone and return a broken pair of sunglasses purchased from Loft.
Friday was the first day that shopping malls, restaurants, retail outlets and movie theaters were allowed to reopen in Texas after being closed since the beginning of April. According to Gov Abbot's order, stores can open, but must limit occupancy to 25% of capacity.
As several mall employees eagerly told the TT (speaking anonymously for fear of losing their jobs), the governor's order was actually making it harder on most small businesses, as they're essentially being forced to operate at a loss, and employees are being called back in to work, despite the fact that both the business and the employees were probably better served with the 'PPP' loan-to-grant scheme and of course the beefed-up unemployment checks that, combined with the stimulus, have left many hourly workers with more in their pocket than they would otherwise have.
It's just something to think about: Why would anybody want to push for a reopening if it would only seal the fate of thousands of small businesses?
Some employees returned to work reluctantly. A 42-year-old who helps operate two phone kiosks at Barton Creek said there's ''no use'' reopening the mall at only a 25% occupancy.
"None of the businesses can survive on 25% business," said the employee, who spoke under the condition of anonymity because he wasn't licensed by the mall to talk to the press.
"All the major stores are closed. We get business when people come to the major stores, and then it all flows and comes to the kiosk,'' he said. "We do want to get back to work, but the governor should've waited until we were at 50-75% so we have a chance to survive or not open at all."
Remember, if small businesses don't make enough money after reopening, they're going to need to shut down again - but this time, it might be forever.
Yanick Almeida, 23, who works as a jeweler at one of the mall's kiosks, said the business usually takes in several thousand dollars on a typical Friday.
"That was before corona,'' he said. Around noon, he hadn't made a single sale.
"If we don't make any money, we're going to have to shut down,'' he said. ''But I don't think we're going to go anywhere because we've been shut down for about two months, and so far we're still good."
It's worth wondering: Who benefits from the wholesale destruction of small business (or, in this case, the death of American malls, and the implosion of any securities backed by their debt)?
Opinion | She Predicted the Coronavirus. What Does She Foresee Next? - The New York Times
Laurie Garrett, the prophet of this pandemic, expects years of death and ''collective rage.''
May 2, 2020, 2:30 p.m. ET Laurie Garrett cheering essential workers from the roof of her apartment building, joining a citywide ritual every evening in New York. Credit... Joshua Bright for The New York Times I told Laurie Garrett that she might as well change her name to Cassandra. Everyone is calling her that anyway.
She and I were Zooming '-- that's a verb now, right? '-- and she pulled out a 2017 book, ''Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes.'' It notes that Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, was prescient not only about the impact of H.I.V. but also about the emergence and global spread of more contagious pathogens.
''I'm a double Cassandra,'' Garrett said.
She's also prominently mentioned in a recent Vanity Fair article by David Ewing Duncan about ''the Coronavirus Cassandras.''
Cassandra, of course, was the Greek prophetess doomed to issue unheeded warnings. What Garrett has been warning most direly about '-- in her 1994 best seller, ''The Coming Plague,'' and in subsequent books and speeches, including TED Talks '-- is a pandemic like the current one.
She saw it coming. So a big part of what I wanted to ask her about was what she sees coming next. Steady yourself. Her crystal ball is dark.
Frank Bruni's Newsletter: Get a more personal take on politics, newsmakers and more with Frank's exclusive commentary every week.
Despite the stock market's swoon for it, remdesivir probably isn't our ticket out, she told me. ''It's not curative,'' she said, pointing out that the strongest claims so far are that it merely shortens the recovery of Covid-19 patients. ''We need either a cure or a vaccine.''
But she can't envision that vaccine anytime in the next year, while Covid-19 will remain a crisis much longer than that.
''I've been telling everybody that my event horizon is about 36 months, and that's my best-case scenario,'' she said.
''I'm quite certain that this is going to go in waves,'' she added. ''It won't be a tsunami that comes across America all at once and then retreats all at once. It will be micro-waves that shoot up in Des Moines and then in New Orleans and then in Houston and so on, and it's going to affect how people think about all kinds of things.''
They'll re-evaluate the importance of travel. They'll reassess their use of mass transit. They'll revisit the need for face-to-face business meetings. They'll reappraise having their kids go to college out of state.
So, I asked, is ''back to normal,'' a phrase that so many people cling to, a fantasy?
''This is history right in front of us,'' Garrett said. ''Did we go 'back to normal' after 9/11? No. We created a whole new normal. We securitized the United States. We turned into an antiterror state. And it affected everything. We couldn't go into a building without showing ID and walking through a metal detector, and couldn't get on airplanes the same way ever again. That's what's going to happen with this.''
Not the metal detectors, but a seismic shift in what we expect, in what we endure, in how we adapt.
Maybe in political engagement, too, Garrett said.
If America enters the next wave of coronavirus infections ''with the wealthy having gotten somehow wealthier off this pandemic by hedging, by shorting, by doing all the nasty things that they do, and we come out of our rabbit holes and realize, 'Oh, my God, it's not just that everyone I love is unemployed or underemployed and can't make their maintenance or their mortgage payments or their rent payments, but now all of a sudden those jerks that were flying around in private helicopters are now flying on private personal jets and they own an island that they go to and they don't care whether or not our streets are safe,' then I think we could have massive political disruption.''
''Just as we come out of our holes and see what 25 percent unemployment looks like,'' she said, ''we may also see what collective rage looks like.''
Garrett has been on my radar since the early 1990s, when she worked for Newsday and did some of the best reporting anywhere on AIDS. Her Pulitzer, in 1996, was for coverage of Ebola in Zaire. She has been a fellow at Harvard's School of Public Health, was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and consulted on the 2011 movie ''Contagion.''
Her expertise, in other words, has long been in demand. But not like now.
Each morning when she opens her email, ''there's the Argentina request, Hong Kong request, Taiwan request, South Africa request, Morocco, Turkey,'' she told me. ''Not to mention all of the American requests.'' It made me feel bad about taking more than an hour of her time on Monday. But not so bad that I didn't cadge another 30 minutes on Thursday.
She said she wasn't surprised that a coronavirus wrought this devastation, that China minimized what was going on or that the response in many places was sloppy and sluggish. She's Cassandra, after all.
But there is one part of the story she couldn't have predicted: that the paragon of sloppiness and sluggishness would be the United States.
''I never imagined that,'' she said. ''Ever.''
The highlights '-- or, rather, lowlights '-- include President Trump's initial acceptance of the assurances by President Xi Jinping of China that all would be well, his scandalous complacency from late January through early March, his cheerleading for unproven treatments, his musings about cockamamie ones, his abdication of muscular federal guidance for the states and his failure, even now, to sketch out a detailed long-range strategy for containing the coronavirus.
Having long followed Garrett's work, I can attest that it's not driven by partisanship. She praised George W. Bush for fighting H.I.V. in Africa.
But she called Trump ''the most incompetent, foolhardy buffoon imaginable.''
And she's shocked that America isn't in a position to lead the global response to this crisis, in part because science and scientists have been so degraded under Trump.
Referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and its analogues abroad, she told me: ''I've heard from every C.D.C. in the world '-- the European C.D.C., the African C.D.C., China C.D.C. '-- and they say, 'Normally our first call is to Atlanta, but we ain't hearing back.' There's nothing going on down there. They've gutted that place. They've gagged that place. I can't get calls returned anymore. Nobody down there is feeling like it's safe to talk. Have you even seen anything important and vital coming out of the C.D.C.?''
The problem, Garrett added, is bigger than Trump and older than his presidency. America has never been sufficiently invested in public health. The riches and renown go mostly to physicians who find new and better ways to treat heart disease, cancer and the like. The big political conversation is about individuals' access to health care.
But what about the work to keep our air and water safe for everyone, to design policies and systems for quickly detecting outbreaks, containing them and protecting entire populations? Where are the rewards for the architects of that?
Garrett recounted her time at Harvard. ''The medical school is all marble, with these grand columns,'' she said. ''The school of public health is this funky building, the ugliest possible architecture, with the ceilings falling in.''
''That's America?'' I asked.
''That's America,'' she said.
And what America needs most right now, she said, isn't this drumbeat of testing, testing, testing, because there will never be enough superfast, super-reliable tests to determine on the spot who can safely enter a crowded workplace or venue, which is the scenario that some people seem to have in mind. America needs good information, from many rigorously designed studies, about the prevalence and deadliness of coronavirus infections in given subsets of people, so that governors and mayors can develop rules for social distancing and reopening that are sensible, sustainable and tailored to the situation at hand.
America needs a federal government that assertively promotes and helps to coordinate that, not one in which experts like Tony Fauci and Deborah Birx tiptoe around a president's tender ego.
''I can sit here with you for three hours listing '-- boom, boom, boom '-- what good leadership would look like and how many more lives would be saved if we followed that path, and it's just incredibly upsetting.'' Garrett said. ''I feel like I'm just coming out of maybe three weeks of being in a funk because of the profound disappointment that there's not a whisper of it.''
Instead of that whisper she hears wailing: the sirens of ambulances carrying coronavirus patients to hospitals near her apartment in Brooklyn Heights, where she has been home alone, in lockdown, since early March. ''If I don't get hugged soon, I'm going to go bananas,'' she told me. ''I'm desperate to be hugged.''
Increase in Virginia testing numbers mostly due to change in counting, health officials say - Virginia Mercury
Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver spoke at a news conference on Capitol Square in March. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury) Officials with the Virginia Department of Health abruptly announced Friday that they were changing their methodology for reporting the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in Virginia.
The announcement came after data on the state's coronavirus surveillance page appeared to show a dramatic one-day increase in test results, from 90,843 on Thursday to 105,648 on Friday.
Alena Yarmosky, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ralph Northam, said that roughly 5,800 of those results were new tests '-- a record for the state. But the other roughly 9,000 were older tests that the state retroactively included in its cumulative daily results.
Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said the old methodology counted the total number of people tested rather than the total number of tests conducted. Previously, if a single patient was tested four different times over the course of the illness, VDH reported that as one result.
''What we're doing now is, we're counting all four tests,'' he said. ''That's the difference.''
About 10 percent of the state's previous results were patients who had been tested for COVID-19 multiple times, he added after the press briefing. So, while the state's surveillance page still includes a section for ''Number of People Tested,'' Friday's numbers now reflect the total number of tests conducted in the state.
Oliver said that the new methodology will make it easier for the state to calculate the total percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive. That metric is considered important in evaluating the severity of outbreaks in different areas and '-- once more widespread testing is available '-- whether the virus appears to be accelerating or abating.
But the sudden change in methodology also makes it impossible to evaluate how the number of tests in Virginia has increased compared to past data, unless VDH continues to release the total number of people tested. Oliver said he wasn't sure if that statistic will be added back to the surveillance page.
The total number of tests also doesn't necessarily reflect whether most Virginians are able to be screened for the virus. Testing capacity at the state lab in Richmond is still directed to high-risk groups such as symptomatic residents in nursing homes. And primary care providers say there are still significant shortages in the swabs, transport media and personal protective equipment that make it possible to widely test patients.
While one resident tested four times for COVID-19 might reflect an overall increase in resources, it doesn't indicate how many of the state's 8.5 million residents have been tested '-- surveillance that's been cited as an important step in reopening the state and controlling future cases.
''We have slowed the spread, but we are not out of the woods yet,'' Northam said during the briefing. ''We must continue to move forward carefully. Testing is key to that.''
Even with the change in reporting, Virginia appears to be lagging behind nearby states in testing numbers. North Carolina, for instance, which also reports the total number of tests, had 133,832 results as of Friday. Tennessee reports the total number of people tested, and still had an additional 80,484 results more than Virginia.
Dr. Karen Remley, a former health commissioner brought on as co-director of the governor's COVID-19 task force, said the state was continuing to focus on increasing its testing rates. She announced Friday that the state has contracted with two private laboratories in Virginia and one in North Carolina to boost capacity by 3,000 tests per day.
State officials also plan to launch a public information campaign encouraging doctors to test all symptomatic patients as the turnaround time for results at large commercial labs, such as Quest and LabCorp, continues to decrease.
It's still unclear whether Northam will follow through on his initial plan to reopen businesses by May 8 '-- and whether the state's increasing testing and tracing capacity is enough to accommodate an anticipated rise in cases when they do.
Another key tool in reopening is contact tracing, in which health workers identify the contacts of patients with COVID-19, test those people, and isolate any who test positive. Oliver said he hopes to increase Virginia's tracing workforce to 1,500, but couldn't provide the current number of personnel.
''It's true that we don't have a central roster of all our contact tracers,'' he added. ''Our local health departments do that work '-- I don't know the exact number, but it's in the hundreds.''
China launches high-tech bird drones to watch over its citizens - CNET
South China Morning Post Look! Up there! A pretty little bird gliding majestically through the sky, encapsulating the beauty of natu -- oh wait. It's a high-tech surveillance drone.
Over recent years, more than 30 Chinese military and government agencies have reportedly been using drones made to look like birds to surveil citizens in at least five provinces, according to the South China Morning Post.
The program is reportedly codenamed "Dove" and run by Song Bifeng, a professor at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an. Song was formerly a senior scientist on the Chengdu J-20, Asia's first fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, according to the Post.
The bird-like drones mimic the flapping wings of a real bird using a pair of crank-rockers driven by an electric motor. Each drone has a high-definition camera, GPS antenna , flight control system and a data link with satellite communication capability, the Post reports.
While the "scale is still small", according to Yang Wenqing, a member of Song's team who commented to the Post, the researchers "believe the technology has good potential for large-scale use in the future ... it has some unique advantages to meet the demand for drones in the military and civilian sectors."
Beijing's surveillance technologies, however discreet, can be avoided. But these drones will open a "new level of intrusiveness," Timothy R. Heath, senior international defense research analyst at global policy think tank The RAND Corporation, told CNET via email.
"Although the bird drones will likely be deployed in restive provinces like Xinjiang, any Chinese person should assume that their behavior could be under surveillance and their behavior recorded, no matter where they go outdoors," he said. "China's use of bird drones will extend the government's surveillance to a frightening new level."
China also employs facial recognition , artificial intelligence , smart glasses and other technologies to monitor its 1.4 billion citizens with the aim of one day giving each of them a personal score based on how they behave.
Now playing: Watch this: China turns to tech to monitor, shame, rate citizens
First published June 24, 9 p.m. PT.
Update, Aug. 2 at 4:55 p.m.: Adds comment from Timothy R. Heath.
Coronavirus slows L.A. money laundering, bringing seizures - Los Angeles Times
The Drug Enforcement Administration is seizing bulk cash amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has hobbled money laundering schemes and created a backlog of drug proceeds in Los Angeles.
(Drug Enforcement Administration)
By Matthew Ormseth Staff Writer
Dirty money is piling up in Los Angeles. In the last three weeks, federal agents made three seizures that each netted more than $1 million in suspected drug proceeds.
The reason, according to the city's top drug enforcement official: The coronavirus pandemic has slowed trade-based money laundering systems that drug trafficking groups use to repatriate profits and move Chinese capital into Southern California.
With storefronts closed, supply chains in disarray and the global economy in peril, these complex schemes are hobbled and cash is backing up in Los Angeles, Bill Bodner, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Los Angeles field division, said in an interview.
The recent million-dollar interceptions were reminiscent of seizures the DEA made before drug traffickers embraced trade-based money laundering, said Bodner, a 28-year agent.
The shuttering of nonessential businesses has made a ''tremendous impact'' on a money laundering system dubbed the black market peso exchange, he said. In the fashion district in downtown Los Angeles '-- the exchange's epicenter '-- drug trafficking groups from throughout the country use wholesalers to remit profits to Mexico, according to cases filed in federal courts in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
The DEA is seizing bulk cash amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has hobbled money laundering schemes and created a backlog of drug proceeds in Los Angeles.
Steven Mygrant, a federal prosecutor in Oregon who charged six people with laundering heroin proceeds through Los Angeles businesses, said two primary factors drive the exchange: Drug trafficking groups need to convert dollars to pesos, which is expensive to do legitimately, and they need to move money from the United States to Mexico, which is risky to transport in cash.
To accomplish this, Mygrant said, a broker pays pesos for the drug traffickers' dollars. The traffickers deliver cash to an exporter in Los Angeles, who ships goods '-- commonly clothing, cosmetics, jewelry or sportswear '-- to a retailer in Mexico. The retailer sells the goods for pesos and pays the broker.
Developed by Colombian cocaine traffickers, Mexican cartels initially did not embrace the black market peso exchange, Bodner said, finding it easier to simply smuggle bulk cash across the border and launder it in Mexico. That changed about 10 years ago, he said, when the Mexican government tightened financial regulations and restricted the flow of dollars into its banks.
Recently, with storefronts closed and agents seizing millions in cash packaged for transport, it appears drug trafficking groups are resorting to older, riskier ways of repatriating profits, Bodner said.
The coronavirus has also cooled Chinese capital flight, he said, which before the pandemic was the primary driver of international money laundering.
With the Chinese government curtailing the amount of money its citizens can shift overseas, drug traffickers and money brokers set up the following system, Bodner said: A Chinese national who wants to convert yuan to dollars and stash it in the United States will contact a broker. The broker instructs this person to pay a factory that produces chemicals used to make methamphetamine or fentanyl.
The factory ships the precursors to Mexico, where they're converted into narcotics, smuggled into the United States and sold for dollars. The broker directs the drug trafficking group to deliver cash to a relative or an associate of the Chinese national whose money initiated the entire sequence.
The money is now in the United States and in dollars, without ever entering the global financial system.''The more money that wants to leave China, the more chemicals go to Mexico and the more synthetic drugs end up in L.A.,'' Bodner said.
But the pandemic has slowed the cycle significantly, he said. Most narcotics precursors from China are made in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and factories there are shuttered or operating at a reduced capacity.
''When chemicals aren't flowing from China, there's no churn in the money laundering system,'' Bodner said. Further, with global markets in upheaval, many of the Chinese nationals who were moving money through the system are now hesitant to stash funds overseas, he said.
Slowdowns in Los Angeles' money laundering systems come as drug prices rise in the city. With supply chains in disarray, Bodner said, the wholesale price of methamphetamine has soared to about $1,800 a pound, compared with about $900 a pound five months ago.
Liberty_Justiceðºð¸ on Twitter: "@ChrisBlec @adamcurry They went to save the children https://t.co/X2MEW59H8w" / Twitter
The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04370782 Recruitment Status : Not yet recruiting
First Posted : May 1, 2020
Last Update Posted : May 1, 2020
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Avni Thakore MD, St. Francis Hospital, New York
This is a randomized, open-label trial to assess the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, and zinc in combination with either azithromycin or doxycycline in a higher risk COVID-19 positive outpatient population.
COVID-19 Drug: Hydroxychloroquine Drug: Azithromycin Drug: Zinc Sulfate Drug: Doxycycline Phase 4 COVID-19 is an aggressive and contagious virus, found to have high mortality especially in persons with comorbidities (Age>60, hypertension [HTN], diabetes mellitus [DM], Cancer, and otherwise immunocompromised). Zinc is a supplement with possible antiviral properties, having been shown to have effect in the common cold, many of which are due to coronavirus. In addition, elderly patients and patients with co-morbidities have high incidence of zinc deficiency. We are repleting zinc in all patients and studying its direct effect in combination with hydroxychloroquine, and an antibiotic, either azithromycin or doxycycline to see if there is enhanced treatment efficacy in early COVID-19 infection and assess the safety of these two regimen.
Layout table for study information Study Type : Interventional (Clinical Trial) EstimatedEnrollment : 750 participants Allocation: Randomized Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment Masking: None (Open Label) Primary Purpose: Treatment Official Title: A Randomized Study Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine and Zinc in Combination With Either Azithromycin or Doxycycline for the Treatment of COVID-19 in the Outpatient Setting Estimated Study Start Date : April 28, 2020 Estimated Primary Completion Date : September 30, 2020 Estimated Study Completion Date : December 31, 2020 Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine Experimental: Experimental Arm 1Hydroxychloroquine
Drug: HydroxychloroquineHydroxychloroquine 400mg twice a day (BID) on day 1, followed by 200mg BID for days 2-5
Drug: AzithromycinAzithromycin 500mg on day 1, followed by 250mg once daily for days 2-5
Drug: Zinc SulfateZinc sulfate 220mg once daily for 5 days
Experimental: Experimental Arm 2Hydroxychloroquine
Drug: HydroxychloroquineHydroxychloroquine 400mg twice a day (BID) on day 1, followed by 200mg BID for days 2-5
Drug: Zinc SulfateZinc sulfate 220mg once daily for 5 days
Drug: DoxycyclineDoxycycline 200 mg once daily for 5 days
Primary Outcome Measures :
Time to Resolution of Symptoms relative to baseline (day 1 of trial) [ Time Frame: Day 5 ]Patients will be assessed on day 5 for when COVID-19 symptoms completely resolve compared to baseline (day 1 of trial)
Time to Resolution of Symptoms relative to baseline (day 1 of trial) [ Time Frame: Day 14 ]Patients will be assessed on day 14 for when COVID-19 symptoms completely resolve compared to baseline (day 1 of trial)
Time to Resolution of Symptoms relative to baseline (day 1 of trial) [ Time Frame: Day 21 ]Patients will be assessed on day 21 for when COVID-19 symptoms completely resolve compared to baseline (day 1 of trial)
Number of participants hospitalized and/or requiring repeat ER visits [ Time Frame: 21 days ]Number of participants hospitalized and/or requiring repeat ER visits related to COVID-19 complications
ICU Length of Stay [ Time Frame: Until Discharged up to 30 days ]If hospitalized, number of participants admitted to the ICU, and number of days in the ICU
Ventilator [ Time Frame: Until extubated up to 30 days ]If placed on ventilator, number of days on a ventilator
Secondary Outcome Measures :
Severity of symptoms [ Time Frame: Day 5, Day 14, and Day 21 ]Severity of symptoms evaluated at day 5, day 14, and day 21 scored by the participant for feverishness, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, myalgias. (0 =none; 1 = mild; 2 = moderate; 3 = severe)
Number of participants with adverse events due to drug regimen [ Time Frame: 21 days ]Number of participants with adverse events due to drug regimen
Number of participants with QTc prolongation >500ms [ Time Frame: Days 1 thru 5, Day 10, Day 21 ]Assess all patients to evaluate for QTc prolongation >500ms
Information from the National Library of Medicine Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.
Layout table for eligibility information Ages Eligible for Study: 30 Years and older (Adult, Older Adult) Sexes Eligible for Study: All Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No Inclusion Criteria:
Able to read and understand informed consent. High initial clinical suspicion by physician based on signs and symptoms (fever, cough, myalgias, fatigue, shortness of breath) followed by RT-PCR for confirmation of COVID-19 diagnosis Any gender Age 60 years and older Age 30-59 years with one or more of the following:
abnormal lung exam abnormal oxygen staturation <95% abnormal chest x-ray or chest CT persistent fever >100.4 degrees Fahrenheit upon arrival to Emergency department (ED) one of the following co-morbidities: hypertension, diabetes mellitus, history of coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease (CKD), asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, current or former smoker, or morbid obesity (Body Mass Index '¥35) Exclusion Criteria:
Pregnant or breastfeeding female Severe COVID-19 requiring admission for inpatient treatment Need for any oxygen supplementation Need for mechanical ventilatory support History of oxygen supplementation dependency History of cancer with ongoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy Concurrent antimicrobial therapy Known hypersensitivity to hydroxychloroquine or other 4-aminoquinoline compounds Already taking hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine within 1 month Known G6-PD deficiency History of retinopathy History of current cardiac diseases (heart failure, ventricular arrhythmias, Left bundle branch block and/or Right bundle branch block, QTc prolongation >480ms), or family history of sudden cardiac death Ongoing use of drugs that prolong the QTc interval (antipsychotics, antidepressants, class I and III antiarrhythmics, triptans) Severe renal disease: glomerular filtration rate (GFR) <30ml/min Severe hepatic impairment (elevated total bilirubin >2 mg/dL, decreased albumin <2.8 g/dL, signs of jaundice and ascites.) Active alcohol abuse (>5 drinks per day or >20 drinks per week.) Seizure disorder, currently on medications Known hypersensitivity to any tetracyclines. Information from the National Library of Medicine To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT04370782
Layout table for location information St Francis Hospital Roslyn, New York, United States, 11576 Contact: Elizabeth Haag, RN 516-622-4512 firstname.lastname@example.org St. Francis Hospital, New York
Layout table for investigator information Principal Investigator: Avni Thakore, MD Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Yao X, Ye F, Zhang M, Cui C, Huang B, Niu P, Liu X, Zhao L, Dong E, Song C, Zhan S, Lu R, Li H, Tan W, Liu D. In Vitro Antiviral Activity and Projection of Optimized Dosing Design of Hydroxychloroquine for the Treatment of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Mar 9. pii: ciaa237. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa237. [Epub ahead of print] Gautret P, Lagier JC, Parola P, Hoang VT, Meddeb L, Mailhe M, Doudier B, Courjon J, Giordanengo V, Vieira VE, Dupont HT, Honor(C) S, Colson P, Chabri¨re E, La Scola B, Rolain JM, Brouqui P, Raoult D. Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2020 Mar 20:105949. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105949. [Epub ahead of print] Kim AHJ, Sparks JA, Liew JW, Putman MS, Berenbaum F, Duarte-Garca A, Graef ER, Korsten P, Sattui SE, Sirotich E, Ugarte-Gil MF, Webb K, Grainger R; COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance' . A Rush to Judgment? Rapid Reporting and Dissemination of Results and Its Consequences Regarding the Use of Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. Ann Intern Med. 2020 Mar 30. doi: 10.7326/M20-1223. [Epub ahead of print] Wu C, Liu Y, Yang Y, Zhang P, Zhong W, Wang Y, Wang Q, Xu Y, Li M, Li X, Zheng M, Chen L, Li H. Analysis of therapeutic targets for SARS-CoV-2 and discovery of potential drugs by computational methods. Acta Pharm Sin B. 2020 Feb 27. doi: 10.1016/j.apsb.2020.02.008. [Epub ahead of print] Layout table for additonal information Responsible Party: Avni Thakore MD, Principal Investigator, St. Francis Hospital, New York ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04370782 Other Study ID Numbers: 20-21 First Posted: May 1, 2020 Key Record Dates Last Update Posted: May 1, 2020 Last Verified: April 2020 Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement: Plan to Share IPD: No Layout table for additional information Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: Yes Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No Product Manufactured in and Exported from the U.S.: No Keywords provided by Avni Thakore MD, St. Francis Hospital, New York:
Frankrijk zal de noodtoestand om het coronavirus te bestrijden met twee maanden verlengen tot 24 juli. De regering heeft zaterdag in Parijs overeenstemming bereikt over een wetsvoorstel hierover. Dat heeft minister van Volksgezondheid Olivier V(C)ran zaterdag gezegd.
Het voorstel wordt maandag aan het parlement voorgelegd. Het opheffen van de noodtoestand die begon op 24 maart zou 'voorbarig'' zijn en zal 'het risico op een uitbraak'' weer groter maken, aldus de minister.
De wet is bedoeld om juridische steun te geven aan de plannen van regeringsleider douard Philippe voor de geleidelijke versoepeling van de strenge coronamaatregelen. Zo wil Frankrijk het dragen van mondkapjes in het openbaar vervoer vanaf 11 mei verplicht stellen. Winkels zouden vanaf deze datum weer open mogen gaan. Restaurants en caf(C)s blijven tot nader order gesloten. Ook stranden blijven voorlopig taboe voor bezoekers en sporters.
'We zullen een tijdje met het virus moeten leven'', zei V(C)ran. Frankrijk is zwaar getroffen door het nieuwe coronavirus. Tot nu toe zijn meer dan 24.500 mensen in het land eraan bezweken.
Lees hier het liveblog van gisteren terug: vrijdag 1 mei
Drukte in winkelstraten coronaprovincie Brabant'Niet kunnen instappen, bussen met stenen bekogeld'Forse toename meldingen via Meld Misdaad AnoniemMeer hulp nodig voor in Marokko gestrande NederlandersRIVM: dodental coronavirus stijgt met 94, 97 nieuwe ziekenhuisopnamesBmr-vaccinatie helpt misschien een beetjeCoronamaatregelen komen in een wetZiekenhuizen Rotterdam en Zeeland hervatten reguliere zorgNederland leent Aruba zo'n 25 miljoen euroScholen Sint-Eustatius vanaf 11 mei weer openOvernachten in Beekse Bergen en Efteling mag weerStrandhuisjes onder voorwaarden toegestaanMotorrijlessen mogen weerAantal coronapatinten op ic neemt af met 48 naar 735 Buitenland:
Italiaans dodental door coronavirus stijgt weer fors, hoogste sinds 21 aprilDe Amerikaanse staat New York, met de gelijknamige metropool, telde in een etmaal weer bijna driehonderd coronadodenAantal coronadoden in Verenigd Koninkrijk stijgt tot ruim 28.000Mondkapjes verplicht op Belgische luchthavensRuim 65.000 coronadoden in Verenigde StatenSpanjaarden massaal de straat op na versoepeling lockdownTwee procent van de Moskovieten is besmetEngeland: Eerst temperaturen, dan pas de bus inDagelijks dodental VS onder de 2000Licentie uitvaartbedrijf New York opgeschortCaliforni de straat op vanwege corona-restrictiesDagelijks aantal coronadoden in Duitsland duikt onder de 100WHO slaat terug na kritiek: we waarschuwden op tijdOndanks coronaverbod toch grote demonstratie in BerlijnCanada herdenkt bevrijding Nederland met speciale munt Financieel:
Kabinet: meetlat voor steun aan cruciale bedrijven'Duitsland pas in 2028 hersteld van de crisis'1 op de 4 had voor corona al aflosproblemenMcDonald's kijkt naar restaurants nieuwe stijl met statafels Sport:
Directeur Koevermans kondigt bij Feyenoord loonoffers aanPSV-directeur vreest voor verkoop speler bij leeg stadionPremier League schiet weinig op met vergaderronde'Positief gesprek tussen FC Utrecht en de UEFA'Entertainment
Madonna positief getest op antilichamen tegen corona'Bond-film hoogstwaarschijnlijk pas volgend jaar in de bioscoop''Gªnante ommekeer' Victoria Beckham: toch geen overheidssteunIedere middag de belangrijkste corona-updates en het laatste nieuws in je inbox.Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
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BREAKING: Conservative Superstar CANDACE OWENS Is Suspended from Twitter! - After Challenging Tyrannical Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer!
Conservative Superstar Candace Owens was suspended from Twitter today for challenging Michigan's tyrannical Governor Gretchen Whitmer!
Candace was locked out of her Twitter account.
The Pro-Trump author, speaker and pundit has over 2.2 million followers on the social media platform!Candace is also one of President Trump's most vocal and popular supporters.
Candace wrote The Gateway Pundit and sent us the tweet that infuriated the Twitter elites:
TRENDING: BREAKING: Conservative Superstar CANDACE OWENS Is Suspended from Twitter! - After Challenging Tyrannical Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer!
Candace Owens: ''Apparently @GovWhitmer believes she is a duly elected dictator of a socialist country. The people of Michigan need to stand up to her. Open your businesses. Go to work. The police think she's crazy too. They are not going to arrest 10,000,000 people for going to work.
Candace Owens sent us this statement this morning:
Twitter has locked me out of my account but has decided to omit which of their policies I have violated. Apparently, encouraging citizens to go to work is a violation, but Alexandria Ocasi"n Cortez encouraging workers to boycott and protest is not.
I stand by my statement about Governor Whitmer acting as a dictator. Both the Sherriff Departments and the citizens, and the state legislature of Michigan are in agreement with me. I will not kowtow to a socialist world order that seeks to limit my constitutional freedom of speech.
(20) John Roberts on Twitter: "A Senior Intelligence Source tells me there is agreement among most of the 17 Intelligence agencies that COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan lab. The source stressed that the release is believed to be a MISTAKE, and was not int
A Democratic state lawmaker is apologizing amid calls for his resignation after he claimed Tara Reade was ''looking for attention'' when she accused Joe Biden of sexual assault.
Richard Komi, a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, told the Washington Examiner in a Friday phone call that he was sorry for tweeting: ''Judging by the position of the female vagina, it will not be easy for just anyone to put their finger into the vagina unless their is some Cooperation from the female herself. That is why I believe Tara Reade's allegations is false. She is looking for attention.''
The tweet was soon deleted as Komi faced calls from New Hampshire House Speaker Steve Shurtleff, also a Democrat, to resign.
''I regret the poor choice of words that I used,'' Komi said. ''It kind of portrayed me as someone who doesn't care about women or the victims of sexual assault. That is not the case.''
Komi said that he was an ''advocate'' for victims of not just sexual assault but also domestic violence.
''It's regrettable that I used those words, those words do not reflect the person I am. I wish that I had chosen my words more carefully, and I do apologize,'' he said.
Komi said that he had spoken to the Shurtleff and would make a decision about whether he would resign in the ''next couple of days,'' though when the Washington Examiner pointed out that his Twitter biography now reads ''former Member of New Hampshire House of Representatives,'' he did acknowledge that he changed it following the controversial tweet.
The lawmaker said that Biden had been advocating for women ''for the longest time'' and that despite the accusation by Reade, it was hard for him to imagine that Biden would have been involved ''in any such thing.''
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley rebuked the tweet and said, ''Representative Komi's comment is wrong, inappropriate, and offensive to all Democrats, and does not reflect the values of our party.''
Shurtleff, the speaker, said in a statement that he was ''appalled'' by the comments and that ''they were dismissive and hurtful to survivors of sexual assault.''
According to the New Hampshire House of Representatives website, Komi ''is a former refugee who was re-settle to the United States in 1999'' and is serving his second term in the state House. Komi's Instagram page includes multiple photos with himself and Biden.
Reade, one of Biden's former Senate aides, accused Biden in March of forcibly kissing her and using his fingers to penetrate her in 1993. Biden completely denies the accusation.
JUST IN: @NHSpeaker Steve Shurtleff calls on fellow Democratic Rep. Richard Komi, of Manchester, to RESIGN over a Facebook message over a vulgar, victim-blaming tweet relating to Tara Reade + Joe Biden.Statement on left. Tweet on right.
Researchers in South Korea say it is impossible for the novel coronavirus to reinfect humans.
Multiple tests that ostensibly showed 260 patients becoming reinfected were the result of false-positive testing, according to the Korea Herald.
''The process in which COVID-19 produces a new virus takes place only in host cells and does not infiltrate the nucleus. This means it does not cause chronic infection or recurrence,'' said Dr. Oh Myoung-don, a Seoul National University hospital doctor, during a Thursday press conference.
Testing kits could reportedly not distinguish between live traces of the virus and the RNA of the dead virus, according to Oh.
''PCR testing that amplifies genetics of the virus is used in Korea to test COVID-19, and relapse cases are due to technical limits of the PCR testing," he said.
[Click here for complete coronavirus coverage]
Last week, the World Health Organization warned against attempting to develop "herd immunity" to the virus, saying there is no evidence catching the virus could protect people from future infections.
''There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,'' the WHO said in an April 24 statement.
More than 3.2 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus globally. Of those, more than 233,000 have died from it, and more than 986,000 have recovered.
The United States has seen at least 1 million confirmed cases, with more than 62,000 deaths and nearly 126,000 reported recoveries. More than 6.2 million people have been tested for the virus, according to the latest reading of the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Maine Governor Janet Mills' administration revokes Sunday River Brewing Co. license; owner closes restaurant | newscentermaine.com
LOCAL Health & liquor inspectors revoked Sunday River Brewing licenses Friday. Owner Rick Savage initially defied Gov Janet Mills coronavirus order, but closed late Friday
BETHEL, Maine '-- Rick Savage, the owner of Sunday River Brewing Co. in Bethel, kept his word and opened his doors to the public on Friday, defying Gov. Janet Mills' Executive Order during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Savage, health and liquor license inspectors were on scene Friday and revoked both of the restaurant's licenses. Savage said he would continue to operate, but late Friday afternoon, Savage posted on the restaurant's Facebook page that Sunday River brewing Co. was closed until further notice.
"We will be closed until further notice as of Friday May 1st. Thank you all for support today, please search for the ''Maine Back to Work Fund'' on go fund me page. We will post the link if I can find it. Thank you all again!!" said Savage in the post.
Oxford County Sheriff's Chief Deputy James Urquhart told NEWS CENTER Maine several agencies are also monitoring the situation, as well as surrounding areas that may try to mimic what's being attempted in Bethel.
Savage went on Fox News Thursday night, telling the nation he planned to go against the Governor's orders and open to dine-in customers on Friday. Hundreds showed up in support.
Maine entered the first stage of Mills' phased approach to reopen the state's economy on Friday. Restaurants are part of stage two, with a tentative reopening date of June 1.
"I've got a restaurant that seats 250 people inside, a deck that seats a hundred, a 2200 square foot patio, so I could put people at six-foot spacing everywhere and get open back up for business," Savage said.
A crowd waits to get into Sunday River Brewing Company, Friday, May 1, 2020, in Newry, Maine. Rick Savage, owner of the brew pub, defied an executive order that prohibited the gathering of 10 or more people and opened his establishment during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
The Oxford County Sheriff's Office released a statement in response to the situation Friday in Bethel.
"As Sheriff, I swore an oath to uphold the constitutional rights of our citizens, as well as enforce the law," Sheriff Christopher Wainwright said in the statement.
Wainwright wrote, "As in any situation where there is a potential or alleged violation of law, which includes violations of the Executive Orders, for which law enforcement is obligated to enforce, we will investigate reports of violations and take the appropriate action indicated by our investigative findings or refer the complaint to the appropriate state or local administrative licensing agency."
Under Phase 1 of the Governor's plan, health care from Maine-licensed providers, personal services like barbershops and hair salons, drive-in services, and outdoor recreation are some of the businesses that are able to reopen beginning Friday. They must meet state-mandated safety precautions.
Some Mainers have been frustrated and confused about some of Mills' orders. Last week, more than 300 protesters rallied behind the message that the state government should reopen Maine. Another protest outside the Augusta State House and Governor's residence at the Blaine House is planned for Saturday.
On Friday, Mills address some of their frustrations in a statement during the Maine CDC's daily coronavirus briefing.
In Maine, there are currently 1,123 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been 55 deaths associated with the disease.
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus
NEWS CENTER Maine Coronavirus Coverage
White House blocks Fauci from testifying before House panel next week - The Washington Post
The White House is blocking Anthony S. Fauci from testifying before a House subcommittee investigating the coronavirus outbreak and response, arguing that it would be ''counterproductive'' for him to appear next week while in the midst of participating in the government's responses to the pandemic.
The White House issued a statement about Fauci's testimony shortly after The Washington Post published a story Friday afternoon quoting a spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, who said the White House was refusing to allow Fauci to appear at a subcommittee hearing next week.
''While the Trump Administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counterproductive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at congressional hearings,'' said White House spokesman Judd Deere. ''We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.''
In fact, Fauci is expected to appear at a Senate hearing related to testing the following week, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning.
''It's not muzzling, it's not blocking, it's simply trying to ensure we're able to balance the need for oversight, the legitimate need for oversight, with their responsibilities to handle Covid-19 work at their respective agencies and departments,'' said the official, who noted that health risks entailed in moving around in public places were also a factor.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been a prominent face in the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus as a lead scientist in the coronavirus task force.
Sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter to track the outbreak. All stories linked in the newsletter are free to access.
The latest coronavirus news
He has walked a fine line in delivering scientific information to the public that at times has contradicted President Trump's statements. Trump at one point retweeted a Twitter post that called for Fauci to be fired, but he later denied he was considering firing him. Fauci has urged extreme caution as some cities and states move to reopen businesses, warning that doing so imprudently could lead to a resurgence of the coronavirus.
When Trump began holding daily briefings about the pandemic, Fauci was a frequent presence, answering numerous questions and offering medical expertise. As time went on, though, Fauci appeared at fewer and fewer of the briefings. His more cautious approach had often clashed with Trump's eagerness to reopen states and businesses as quickly as possible.
A spokeswoman for Fauci did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(The Washington Post)The House Appropriations subcommittee will instead hear from Thomas Frieden, who led the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention during the Obama administration, said committee spokesman Evan Hollander. The panel could potentially seek to hear from other witnesses as well.
Although the House will not be in session next week, lawmakers decided to schedule an in-person hearing for Wednesday before the House Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, education and related agencies, chaired by Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.). Lawmakers who choose to attend can do so despite the House being out of session.
The House and Senate have been essentially closed since late March, except for lawmakers periodically returning to the Capitol to approve massive spending bills that have totaled nearly $3 trillion so far. There has been little congressional oversight of all the spending or the White House's actions, even as initiatives such as the small-business Paycheck Protection Program have run into trouble, with large businesses tapping loans designed for smaller companies.
Weeks have passed without any public hearings, which lawmakers have traditionally used to question administration officials about policies or spending plans.
Democrats are eager to return to conducting oversight of the massive spending and the administration's response, and multiple House committees are likely to seek testimony from administration officials in coming weeks.
In a statement Friday evening, DeLauro and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) said that ''Congress and the American public deserve a clear-eyed view of the path forward for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.'' Their statement did not address their inability to hear from Fauci next week.
Gilead stock downgraded over questions about remdesivir revenue - MarketWatch
Shares of Gilead Sciences Inc. gild -4.82% were down 5.9% in trading on Friday after at least three analysts downgraded the stock, citing a range of concerns. Raymond James downgraded the drugmaker's shares to market perform from outperform; analyst Steven Seedhouse attributed the downgrade to a lack of clarity around the commercial viability of remdesivir, an experimental COVID-19 treatment, as well as the drug's "seemingly de minimis activity" in preliminary clinical trial data released this week. "We don't know what a sustainable revenue stream from remdesivir will look like," SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analysts wrote in a note, downgrading the stock to sell from hold. J.P. Morgan downgraded Gilead to neutral from overweight. "Remdesivir has been a big sentiment boost for GILD (if not the entire market) and the company should be commended for its efforts in so quickly addressing this public health emergency, but we still feel it's unlikely to result in tangible long-term cash flows," J.P. Morgan analysts wrote. On Thursday, Gilead released its first-quarter earnings and much of the earning call focused on analyst questions about the business model for remdesivir, which may be nearing an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19 patients. CEO Daniel O'Day told analysts that under an EUA the company can charge for the drug; however, it plans to donate doses through May, saying it "is the right thing to do." Gilead's stock is up 29.7% year-to-date, while the S&P 500 spx -2.81% is down 9.8%.
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Proclamation on Loyalty Day, 2020 | The White House
The United States has been a strong Nation for more than two centuries not only because of the ideals that we share as a people, but also because of the love we have for our home and the loyalty we have for each other. From the beginning of our history and through trials of war and peace, Americans have always been filled with a devotion to freedom, a fierce spirit of independence, a courageous dedication to the cause of self-government, and a sacred commitment to our shared and glorious destiny. Together, we honor the wisdom of our Founders. We revere the words of our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence. We celebrate the heroes of our history and treasure the majesty of America's natural beauty. We marvel at the achievements of American artists, scientists, engineers, inventors, business leaders, and pioneers. And we cherish the nobility of the American way of life.
For all of these reasons and more, the United States is the most just and virtuous nation in the history of the world '-- and the American people are exceptional citizens of an exceptional republic. Americans rightly take pride in our country '-- and we take pride in the unique culture of freedom that has been forged over nearly 250 years. Our national character is defined by the values of faith and family, liberty and fairness, and hard work and personal responsibility. Generations of Americans have poured out sweat, blood, soul, and tears to defend these values '-- and on this day, we rededicate ourselves to protecting them in our own time, and for unborn generations to come.
Americans have always been loyal to their Nation '-- and they deserve a government that is always loyal to them in return.
As we confront the global pandemic that is now afflicting our country, we draw strength from the bonds of duty, love, and loyalty that have always sustained our Nation through trying times. An army of doctors, nurses, truckers, clerks, scientists, service workers, researchers, and first responders are doing everything in their power to heal the sick, find a cure, and care for the needs of every American '-- often at grave risk to themselves. All across our country, Americans are courageously fighting a daily battle against an invisible enemy. In light of the extraordinary heroism and dedication we have witnessed, each of us will go forward from this challenging time stronger and even more certain that when duty calls, we will answer it. On this Loyalty Day, we recognize that as long as we take pride in our country, defend our great inheritance, and love our Nation, America will rise to every occasion and achieve a magnificent future.
In order to reaffirm our loyalty to our country, to our freedoms, and to each other, the Congress, by Public Law 85'529, as amended, has designated May 1 of each year as ''Loyalty Day,'' and has requested the President issue a proclamation inviting the people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate activities. On this day, we honor the United States of America and its values, as well as those who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2020, as Loyalty Day. I call on all Americans to observe this day by learning more about the proud history of our Nation. I urge all Government officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings and grounds on that day.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand thisthirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Executive Order on Securing the United States Bulk-Power System | The White House
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in the United States bulk-power system, which provides the electricity that supports our national defense, vital emergency services, critical infrastructure, economy, and way of life. The bulk-power system is a target of those seeking to commit malicious acts against the United States and its people, including malicious cyber activities, because a successful attack on our bulk-power system would present significant risks to our economy, human health and safety, and would render the United States less capable of acting in defense of itself and its allies.
I further find that the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries augments the ability of foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in bulk-power system electric equipment, with potentially catastrophic effects.
I therefore determine that the unrestricted foreign supply of bulk-power system electric equipment constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, which has its source in whole or in substantial part outside the United States. This threat exists both in the case of individual acquisitions and when acquisitions are considered as a class. Although maintaining an open investment climate in bulk-power system electric equipment, and in the United States economy more generally, is important for the overall growth and prosperity of the United States, such openness must be balanced with the need to protect our Nation against a critical national security threat. To address this threat, additional steps are required to protect the security, integrity, and reliability of bulk-power system electric equipment used in the United States. In light of these findings, I hereby declare a national emergency with respect to the threat to the United States bulk-power system.
Accordingly, I hereby order:
Section 1. Prohibitions and Implementation. (a) The following actions are prohibited: any acquisition, importation, transfer, or installation of any bulk-power system electric equipment (transaction) by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, where the transaction involves any property in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest (including through an interest in a contract for the provision of the equipment), where the transaction was initiated after the date of this order, and where the Secretary of Energy (Secretary), in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and, as appropriate, the heads of other executive departments and agencies (agencies), has determined that:
(i) the transaction involves bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied, by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary; and
(ii) the transaction:
(A) poses an undue risk of sabotage to or subversion of the design, integrity, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of the bulk-power system in the United States;
(B) poses an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of United States critical infrastructure or the economy of the United States; or
(C) otherwise poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.
(b) The Secretary, in consultation with the heads of other agencies as appropriate, may at the Secretary's discretion design or negotiate measures to mitigate concerns identified under section 1(a) of this order. Such measures may serve as a precondition to the approval by the Secretary of a transaction or of a class of transactions that would otherwise be prohibited pursuant to this order.
(c) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order.
(d) The Secretary, in consultation with the heads of other agencies as appropriate, may establish and publish criteria for recognizing particular equipment and particular vendors in the bulk-power system electric equipment market as pre-qualified for future transactions; and may apply these criteria to establish and publish a list of pre-qualified equipment and vendors. Nothing in this provision limits the Secretary's authority under this section to prohibit or otherwise regulate any transaction involving pre-qualified equipment or vendors.
Sec. 2. Authorities. (a) The Secretary is hereby authorized to take such actions, including directing the timing and manner of the cessation of pending and future transactions prohibited pursuant to section 1 of this order, adopting appropriate rules and regulations, and employing all other powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to implement this order. The heads of all agencies, including the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, shall take all appropriate measures within their authority as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to implement this order.
(b) Rules and regulations issued pursuant to this order may, among other things, determine that particular countries or persons are foreign adversaries exclusively for the purposes of this order; identify persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries exclusively for the purposes of this order; identify particular equipment or countries with respect to which transactions involving bulk-power system electric equipment warrant particular scrutiny under the provisions of this order; establish procedures to license transactions otherwise prohibited pursuant to this order; and identify a mechanism and relevant factors for the negotiation of agreements to mitigate concerns raised in connection with subsection 1(a) of this order. Within 150 days of the date of this order, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and, as appropriate, the heads of other agencies, shall publish rules or regulations implementing the authorities delegated to the Secretary by this order.
(c) The Secretary may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of the authorities conferred on the Secretary pursuant to this section within the Department of Energy.
(d) As soon as practicable, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the heads of such other agencies as the Secretary considers appropriate, shall:
(i) identify bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied, by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary that poses an undue risk of sabotage to or subversion of the design, integrity, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of the bulk-power system in the United States, poses an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of United States critical infrastructure or the economy of the United States, or otherwise poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons; and
(ii) develop recommendations on ways to identify, isolate, monitor, or replace such items as soon as practicable, taking into consideration overall risk to the bulk-power system.
Sec. 3. Task Force on Federal Energy Infrastructure Procurement Policies Related to National Security. (a) There is hereby established a Task Force on Federal Energy Infrastructure Procurement Policies Related to National Security (Task Force), which shall work to protect the Nation from national security threats through the coordination of Federal Government procurement of energy infrastructure and the sharing of risk information and risk management practices to inform such procurement. The Task Force shall be chaired by the Secretary or the Secretary's designee.
(b) In addition to the Chair of the Task Force (Chair), the Task Force membership shall include the following heads of agencies, or their designees:
(i) the Secretary of Defense;
(ii) the Secretary of the Interior;
(iii) the Secretary of Commerce;
(iv) the Secretary of Homeland Security;
(v) the Director of National Intelligence;
(vi) the Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and
(vii) the head of any other agency that the Chair may designate in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Interior.
(c) The Task Force shall:
(i) develop a recommended consistent set of energy infrastructure procurement policies and procedures for agencies, to the extent consistent with law, to ensure that national security considerations are fully integrated across the Federal Government, and submit such recommendations to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council);
(ii) evaluate the methods and criteria used to incorporate national security considerations into energy security and cybersecurity policymaking;
(iii) consult with the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council and the Oil and Natural Gas Subsector Coordinating Council in developing the recommendations and evaluation described in subsections (c)(i) through (ii) of this section; and
(iv) conduct any other studies, develop any other recommendations, and submit any such studies and recommendations to the President, as appropriate and as directed by the Secretary.
(d) The Department of Energy shall provide administrative support and funding for the Task Force, to the extent consistent with applicable law.
(e) The Task Force shall meet as required by the Chair and, unless extended by the Chair, shall terminate once it has accomplished the objectives set forth in subsection (c) of this section, as determined by the Chair, and completed the reports described in subsection (f) of this section.
(f) The Task Force shall submit to the President, through the Chair and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget:
(i) a report within 1 year from the date of this order;
(ii) a subsequent report at least once annually thereafter while the Task Force remains in existence; and
(iii) such other reports as appropriate and as directed by the Chair.
(g) In the reports submitted under subsection (f) of this section, the Task Force shall summarize its progress, findings, and recommendations described in subsection (c) of this section.
(h) Because attacks on the bulk-power system can originate through the distribution system, the Task Force shall engage with distribution system industry groups, to the extent consistent with law and national security. Within 180 days of receiving the recommendations pursuant to subsection (c)(i) of this section, the FAR Council shall consider proposing for notice and public comment an amendment to the applicable provisions in the Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement the recommendations provided pursuant to subsection (c)(i) of this section.
Sec. 4. Definitions. For purposes of this order, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) The term ''bulk-power system'' means (i) facilities and control systems necessary for operating an interconnected electric energy transmission network (or any portion thereof); and (ii) electric energy from generation facilities needed to maintain transmission reliability. For the purpose of this order, this definition includes transmission lines rated at 69,000 volts (69 kV) or more, but does not include facilities used in the local distribution of electric energy.
(b) The term ''bulk-power system electric equipment'' means items used in bulk-power system substations, control rooms, or power generating stations, including reactors, capacitors, substation transformers, current coupling capacitors, large generators, backup generators, substation voltage regulators, shunt capacitor equipment, automatic circuit reclosers, instrument transformers, coupling capacity voltage transformers, protective relaying, metering equipment, high voltage circuit breakers, generation turbines, industrial control systems, distributed control systems, and safety instrumented systems. Items not included in the preceding list and that have broader application of use beyond the bulk-power system are outside the scope of this order.
(c) The term ''entity'' means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization.
(d) The term ''foreign adversary'' means any foreign government or foreign non-government person engaged in a long'term pattern or serious instances of conduct significantly adverse to the national security of the United States or its allies or the security and safety of United States persons.
(e) The term ''person'' means an individual or entity.
(f) The term ''procurement'' means the acquiring by contract with appropriated funds of supplies or services, including installation services, by and for the use of the Federal Government, through purchase, whether the supplies or services are already in existence or must be created, developed, demonstrated, and evaluated.
(g) The term ''United States person'' means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
Sec. 5. Recurring and Final Reports to the Congress. The Secretary is hereby authorized to submit recurring and final reports to the Congress regarding the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,May 1, 2020.
Coronavirus: FDA approves emergency use of remdesivir
WASHINGTON '-- U.S. regulators on Friday allowed emergency use of an experimental drug that appears to help some coronavirus patients recover faster.
It is the first drug shown to help fight COVID-19, which has killed more than 230,000 people worldwide.
President Donald Trump announced the news at the White House alongside Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, who said the drug would be available for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
The FDA acted after preliminary results from a government-sponsored study showed that Gilead Sciences's remdesivir shortened the time to recovery by 31%, or about four days on average, for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The study of 1,063 patients is the largest and most strict test of the drug and included a comparison group that received just usual care so remdesivir's effects could be rigorously evaluated.
Those given the drug were able to leave the hospital in 11 days on average versus 15 days for the comparison group. The drug also might be reducing deaths, although that's not certain from the partial results revealed so far.
The National Institutes of Health's Dr. Anthony Fauci said the drug would become a new standard of care for severely ill COVID-19 patients like those in this study. The drug has not been tested on people with milder illness, and currently is given through an IV in a hospital.
The FDA authorized the drug under its emergency powers to quickly speed experimental drugs, tests and other medical products to patients during public health crises.
In normal times the FDA requires ''substantial evidence'' of a drug's safety and effectiveness, usually through one or more large, rigorously controlled patient studies. But during public health emergencies the agency can waive those standards, simply requiring that an experimental drug's potential benefits outweigh its risks.
Gilead has said it would donate its currently available stock of the drug and is ramping up production to make more.
No drugs are approved now for treating the coronavirus, and remdesivir will still need formal approval.
The FDA can convert the drug's status to full approval if Gilead or other researchers provide additional data of remdesivir's safety and effectiveness.
''This is a very, very early stage so you wouldn't expect to have any sort of full approval at this point,'' said Cathy Burgess, an attorney specializing in FDA issues. ''But obviously they want to get this out to patients as quickly as possible.''
The FDA previously gave emergency use authorization to a malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, after Trump repeatedly promoted it as a possible treatment for COVID-19. No large high-quality studies have shown the drug to work for that, however, and it has significant safety concerns.
The FDA warned doctors late last month against prescribing the drug outside of hospital or research settings, due to risks of sometimes fatal heart side effects.
Two small studies published Friday add to concerns about the malaria drug.
Provisional Death Counts of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Untitled PDF
Provisional Death Counts of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Pneumonia, or Influenza by week, United States. Week ending 2/1/2020 to 4/11/2020.* Data as of 4/16/2020 Week ending date in which the death occurred COVID -19 Deaths (U07.1)1 Deaths with Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID (U07.1 or J09-J18 .9)2 Deaths from All Causes Percent of Expected Deaths3 2/01/20 - 4,091 56,569 95 2/08/20 - 4,121 57,094 96 2/15/20 - 4,137 56,114 95 2/22/20 - 4,004 55,646 96 2/29/20 5 4,096 54,968 96 3/07/20 19 4,172 54,333 94 3/14/20 44 4,140 52,381 92 3/21/20 449 4,678 51,785 91 3/28/20 2,285 6,597 52,569 94 4/04/20 5,012 8,876 49,770 89 4/11/20 3,542 5,305 28,174 50 Total Deaths 11,356 54,217 569,403 90 *Data during this period are incomplete because of the lag in time between when the death occurred and when the death certificate is completed, submitted to NCHS and processed for reporting purposes. 1Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID -19, coded to ICD -10 code U07.1. 2Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID -19, Pneumonia, or Influenza, coded to ICD -10 codes U07.1 or J09 -18.9 . 3Percent of expected deaths is the number of deaths for all causes for this week in 2020 compared to the average number across the same week in 2017''2019. Previous analyses of 2015''2016 provisional data completeness have found that completeness is lower in the first few weeks following the date of death (
Proclamation on Older Americans Month, 2020 | The White House
Older Americans are cherished and invaluable members of our society, deserving our utmost respect, gratitude, and admiration. During Older Americans Month, we pause to draw upon the wisdom, spirit, and experience older adults bring to our families, our communities, and our Nation. We also recognize that during this time of crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we can persevere and prevail by emulating the resolve, tenacity, and determination of America's more experienced individuals who have endured and overcome life's most challenging times.
Older Americans have built our economy, defended our freedom, and shaped our Nation's character. They have raised families and dedicated themselves to improving the quality of life for future generations. They sacrificed in times of hardship and took pride in a job well done. Many served honorably in our Armed Forces during some of the darkest times in the history of our Republic. Older Americans have lived lives of service and sacrifice, bound by devotion to the sacred principles of our country. Although no one could begrudge them rest and respite during their retirement years, having worked decades to support and grow their families and nurture their communities, many older Americans spend their time volunteering for those in need, mentoring young people, or learning new skills. They pour love into their extended families, places of worship, and neighborhood centers, and offer profound perspective and insight gleaned from years of life lessons.
My Administration remains committed to enacting policies that benefit our Nation's older adults. In an effort to lower the cost of prescription drugs, the Food and Drug Administration has approved more generic drugs each year during my 3 years in office than any other year in the history of our country. We have also developed a path to allow less expensive prescription drugs to be imported from Canada. Additionally, I ended the terrible gag clauses that prevented pharmacists from telling patients when they could pay less out of pocket by not using their insurance. I have also taken executive action to improve seniors' access to medical care and to bolster Medicare's fiscal sustainability by reducing regulatory burdens and eliminating unnecessary barriers. This action puts older Americans first by strengthening the program and helping to ensure its success for years to come.
Our Nation's older Americans are among the most susceptible to fraud and other financial schemes. To help counter these vile crimes, I have instructed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prioritize protecting older Americans from financial exploitation and use every tool they have to disrupt and prosecute these criminals. Over the last year, DOJ has taken unprecedented action against transnational fraud schemes that target seniors, the networks of ''money mules'' that move stolen funds from Americans' bank accounts to overseas fraudsters, and telephone companies that knowingly facilitate billions of fraudulent robocalls. DOJ has also launched an Elder Fraud Hotline (1-833-FRAUD-11) so that America's seniors can more easily report fraud, find resources, and better protect themselves from this abhorrent criminal behavior.
Older Americans are among those most vulnerable to the ravages of the coronavirus. As they continue to adhere to the special guidance put in place to protect them, we must acknowledge that far too many are facing hardships of loneliness and social isolation. Many families are unable to visit elderly parents and grandparents, and many men and women in retirement and nursing homes have been cut off from personal contact and meaningful social connections. During this precarious and stressful time, we must remember our treasured older adults and recommit to doing what we can to support and care for them. I urge all Americans to reach out to loved ones, neighbors, and strangers to extend love, compassion, and encouragement. By delivering food and supplies to the homebound, mailing greeting cards, or using technology to stay connected, we can support our seniors as we defeat the virus. Older Americans know how to overcome. They have done it their whole lives. With the country rallying behind them we can ensure that they can continue to live lives of dignity, joy, and purpose long after the threat of the virus has faded.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2020 as Older Americans Month. I call upon all Americans to honor our elders, acknowledge their contributions, care for those in need, and reaffirm our country's commitment to older Americans this month and throughout the year.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP
President Donald J. Trump Remains Committed to Caring for Our Nation's Seniors During the Coronavirus Pandemic and Beyond | The White House
Quote We're taking very special care of our nursing homes and our seniors.
President Donald J. Trump
PROTECTING OUR OLDER PEOPLE: President Donald J. Trump is ensuring the safety and well-being of America's seniors during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
President Trump is making sure our senior citizens remain safe and have access to the healthcare resources they need during the coronavirus pandemic.In addition to the supplies we have already distributed, FEMA will send supplemental shipments of personal protective equipment to all 15,400 Medicaid and Medicare-certified nursing homes in America.The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is providing States with $81 million from the CARES Act to increase their inspections of nursing homes at this crucial time.This week, we will be finalizing a new rule requiring information about COVID-19 cases in nursing homes to be reported directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and testing data to be posted online.The rule requires nursing homes report cases to residents and their family members.The Administration is also establishing the Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes.The commission will be composed of leading industry experts, doctors and scientists, resident and patient advocates, family members, infection and prevention control specialists, and State and local authorities.DELIVERING CRUCIAL ASSISTANCE: The President and his Administration are prioritizing seniors and delivering vital assistance to them during this critical time.
The President released his ''Opening Up America Again'' guidelines, instructing States to take additional measures to protect the safety of senior citizens and other vulnerable populations.President Trump signed historic legislation that provides funding and flexibility for emergency nutritional aid for vulnerable Americans, including senior citizens.At the President's direction, the Administration dramatically expanded Medicare telehealth coverage, allowing beneficiaries to receive healthcare services from the safety of their homes.To protect senior citizens, the President directed CMS to prioritize enforcement of infectious disease standards at nursing homes across America.The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced nearly $1 billion in grants to assist older adults and people with disabilities, providing services such as home delivered meals and in-home care services.PROVIDING THE HIGHEST QUALITY CARE: These actions build on President Trump's longstanding commitment to give seniors the best healthcare anywhere in the world.
President Trump's goal is to ensure older Americans receive the best quality healthcare at the lowest price.Last year, the President signed an Executive Order to improve older Americans' healthcare and improve the fiscal sustainability of Medicare.This order empowers older Americans with choice and access, streamlines approval processes, reduces regulatory burdens, and combats waste, fraud, and abuse.For the third year in a row, the average basic premium for Medicare Part D prescription drug prices has declined, saving beneficiaries $1.9 billion in premiums over time.
Justice Dept. scrutinizes White House-connected doctor linked to disputed coronavirus treatment - The Washington Post
The examination of Vladimir ''Zev'' Zelenko's records began when an associate, conservative commentator Jerome Corsi, accidentally sent an email intended for Zelenko to another ''Z'' name in his address book '-- federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, who as a member of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's team had spent months scrutinizing Corsi's activities during the 2016 presidential election.
During episodes of his daily podcast this week and in a YouTube video he posted late Thursday in response to questions from The Washington Post, Corsi said that Zelinsky responded to the unexpected email by reaching out to Corsi's lawyer and requesting all of Corsi's communications with Zelenko.
Corsi said he and Zelenko are collaborating on a website designed to connect people with doctors. They have acted lawfully, Corsi added, but he plans to cooperate with the request and has handed over his communications.
Zelinsky is tasked now with investigating coronavirus-related crimes in the Maryland U.S. attorney's office, as part of a directive from U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr to prioritize such cases. The department already has charged a medley of fraudsters for peddling fake cures, selling personal protective equipment they didn't actually have or running more complicated Medicare reimbursement schemes, and officials say tips are coming in droves.
Gregory Rigano, a lawyer who said he is working with Zelenko, said in a brief telephone conversation Thursday night that they had not been contacted by federal prosecutors and that he was not aware of any possible law enforcement interest in Zelenko.
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''It's not something I'm familiar with,'' Rigano said. ''We're just saving people's lives that have coronavirus and getting rid of this virus from America as soon as possible.''
In his YouTube video, Corsi displayed the email he inadvertently sent to Zelinsky. In it, he wrote that Zelenko had ''an FDA approved randomized test of HCQ underway'' '-- a reference to hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial.
Despite a lack of scientific evidence, President Trump has enthusiastically promoted the drug as a potential treatment for patients infected with covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration, citing reports of ''serious heart rhythm problems'' associated with hydroxychloroquine, warned doctors against its use outside of a hospital or clinical trial.
FDA warns about hydroxychloroquine dangers, citing serious heart issues, including death
By Corsi's account, Zelinsky went to a government website that lists approved clinical trials and found no reference to Zelenko.
After learning of the federal prosecutor's interest, Corsi said he asked Zelenko about whether he had an FDA approved study '-- as Corsi said Zelenko had told another physician at a training event. Zelenko, Corsi said, then suggested his study was approved instead by an internal hospital panel.
''I pointed out to Zelenko, 'But it's not registered as an FDA test, and you can't say it is,'''' Corsi said Thursday on YouTube, adding that he did not feel Zelenko was trying to defraud anyone, but rather did not understand what it meant to have an FDA-approved test.
''I did nothing wrong. Zelenko made a mistake. He's got no case. And we're following all the rules,'' Corsi said. He said he had turned over to Zelinsky emails and text messages between himself and Zelenko, as well as copies of his podcast and marketing materials for the website '-- ''everything he asked for.''
Corsi's attorney, David Gray, confirmed his version of events.
It is unclear how seriously prosecutors are scrutinizing the matter. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. But even passing interest from federal authorities into efforts to promote the anti-malarial is likely to chafe the president and his allies, particularly given the involvement of a former member of Mueller's team.
''I'm very concerned about the government intrusion here on our freedoms,'' Corsi said on his podcast. ''I see the government demonizing a medicine '... this hydroxychloroquine, that's been around for 70 years, and is fully FDA approved for various illness.''
Inside the special counsel's long hunt to uncover whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia
Trump spent weeks promoting the anti-malarial during his daily televised briefings, calling it at one point a ''game-changer'' that could help the nation quickly overcome the coronavirus.
His comments echoed frequent segments on Fox News, some of which featured discussions of Zelenko's work. Zelenko has said he successfully treated hundreds of suspected covid-19 patients with what he called a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin and zinc sulfate.
Experts, including Trump's leading infectious disease specialist Anthony S. Fauci, have repeatedly cautioned that while there is some anecdotal evidence the drug shows promise, its efficacy must be validated through controlled scientific studies.
Zelenko consults frequently with some of Trump's closest allies. Trump aides say he has been in contact with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and other officials. In a recent interview, Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani said he and Zelenko speak frequently '-- often more than once a day .
''He's a very smart doctor,'' Giuliani said. ''I've seen an analysis of Dr. Zelenko's patient list. There are thousands of people who have been helped by it.''
Giuliani, a familiar voice in Trump's ear, promotes experimental coronavirus treatments
Corsi said he was referred to Zelenko by another doctor also interested in covid-19 and hosted Zelenko for the first time on his podcast earlier this month.
Corsi's website , speakwithanmd.com, offers people the opportunity to schedule a virtual appointment with a doctor , by clicking on a button and inputting their name and address . It advertises a ''low consult fee'' of $59.95 , as well as ''Prescriptions Delivered Right to Your Door, Same Day!'' through a partner .
The site claims to be linked with more than 625 health-care providers , spanning all 50 states . In a ''Frequently Asked Questions'' section, it says it is ''designed to see and treat non-emergency type consultations,'' though it lists ''COVID-19'' as one of many health problems its doctors can examine , along with constipation, allergies and the common cold .
On his website, Corsi describes Zelenko as an unpaid ''medical adviser.''
Zelenko was a guest on Corsi's podcast Sunday and explained he is working with two German scientists and will soon be publishing data from his use of hydroxychloroquine with his patients.
He accused Fauci and other government scientists of opposing use of the drug for political and financial reasons. ''History will prove me right,'' Zelenko said on Corsi's podcast. ''The difference between me and Dr. Fauci is only about 100,000 dead people.''
Corsi is best known for his promotion of the false theory that former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States, a topic over which he bonded with Trump before the celebrity mogul ran for president.
Corsi was in close contact with Trump associate Roger Stone during the 2016 campaign and the two men communicated frequently about WikiLeaks, as the anti-secrecy group published Democratic Party emails that U.S. officials say were stolen and provided to the group by Russian intelligence.
Conservative author and Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi says he is rejecting plea deal from special counsel
Corsi has said he was interviewed extensively about Stone by Zelinsky and other Mueller prosecutors, who at one point drafted a plea agreement under which Corsi would have agreed that he had lied in an initial interview about WikiLeaks.
Corsi ultimately refused to plead guilty, and he was not charged with a crime.
Stone was convicted of lying to Congress, obstruction of an official proceeding and witness tampering and sentenced to three years and four months in prison. He is appealing. Zelinsky was notably among a group of career prosecutors who quit that case after Barr intervened to reduce the recommendation he and other prosecutors gave for Stone's penalty.
Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly indicated that Dr. Vladimir ''Zev'' Zelenko has been a frequent guest on Fox News. While he and his work have been discussed on the network and Fox News anchor Sean Hannity has interviewed Zelenko on his radio program, Zelenko has not appeared as a guest on the network.
Nine million logs of Brits' road journeys spill onto the internet from password-less number-plate camera dashboard ' The Register
Exclusive In a blunder described as "astonishing and worrying," Sheffield City Council's automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) system exposed to the internet 8.6 million records of road journeys made by thousands of people, The Register can reveal.
The ANPR camera system's internal management dashboard could be accessed by simply entering its IP address into a web browser. No login details or authentication of any sort was needed to view and search the live system '' which logs where and when vehicles, identified by their number plates, travel through Sheffield's road network.
Britain's Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter described the security lapse as "both astonishing and worrying," and demanded a full probe into the snafu.
He told us: "As chair of the National ANPR Independent Advisory Group, I will be requesting a report into this incident. I will focus on the comprehensive national standards that exist and look towards any emerging compliance issues or failure thereof."
Eugene Walker, Sheffield City Council's executive director of resources, together with Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley of South Yorkshire Police, told us:
The Register learned of the unprotected dashboard from infosec expert and author Chris Kubecka, working with freelance writer Gerard Janssen, who stumbled across it using search engine Censys.io. She said: "Was the public ever told the system would be in place and that the risks were reasonable? Was there an opportunity for public discourse '' or, like in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, were the plans in a planning office at an impossible or undisclosed location?"
A screenshot of Sheffield City Council's leaked ANPR management dashboard, sent to The Register ... Click to enlarge
The unsecured management dashboard could have been used by anyone who found it to reconstruct a particular vehicle's journey, or series of journeys, from its number plate, right down to the minute with ease. A malicious person could have renamed the cameras or altered key metadata shown to operators, such as a camera's location, direction, and unique identifying number.
Privacy International's Edin Omanovic lamented over the privacy-busting potential of the system, telling The Register: "Time and again we've seen the introduction of surveillance tech for very specific purposes, only to creep into other areas of enforcement." Omanovic continued:
The dashboard was taken offline within a few hours of The Register alerting officials. Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Police added: "As soon as this was brought to our attention we took action to deal with the immediate risk and ensure the information was no longer viewable externally. Both Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Police have also notified the Information Commissioner's Office. We will continue to investigate how this happened and do everything we can to ensure it will not happen again."
A total of 8,616,198 records of vehicle movements, by time, location, and number plate, could be searched through the dashboard last week, The Register understands. This number constantly grew as more and more number plates were captured by the 100 live cameras feeding the system, and locations of vehicles were logged along with timestamps.
A screenshot showing a number plate's journey through the Sheffield ANPR network, sent to The Register. On the left, the location of the camera that spotted the plate and timestamps, and on the right, the number plate. Full details have been obscured for privacy reasons ... Click to enlarge
One camera alone recorded at least 13,000 number plates on Thursday, April 13 '' having previously captured 21,000 on Monday, February 24, before the UK entered its coronavirus lockdown, we understand.
The exposed dashboard was in active use, we were reliably told, with entries in the logs being processed and marked as "cleared" as recently as last Wednesday (22nd April). We understand some links on the publicly exposed dashboard, however, returned error messages when clicked on, such as the so-called "hot list."
'Traffic enforcement camera' The dashboard's cameras were identified as belonging to Sheffield City Council after their descriptions were matched with a November 21, 2018 council document [PDF, 32 pages] and its weighty appendix [PDF, 132 pages] approving a "clean air zone" proposal. Modelled on London's lucrative congestion tax, which grossed £230m in FY2018-19 [PDF, page 106], the proposed clean-air zone for Sheffield '' in which certain vehicles are charged a daily fee for driving into the city centre '' was to be enforced by the council's ANPR camera network, installed in 2014.
Nowhere in the public-facing 32-page council document nor the 132-page appendix is the word "privacy" mentioned let alone "privacy impact assessment." The only impact assessment mentioned as being carried out was an equality one, allegedly to ensure "different communities" in Sheffield wouldn't object to the low-emission zone.
The ANPR dashboard began recording on November 20, 2018. The camera locations and backend system date back to their 2014 deployment. Helpfully, the council document set out examples of signs bureaucrats promised would be erected to warn drivers they were under automated surveillance.
What the council said it would erect around its cameras
"At all boundary entry points a sign to inform drivers that ANPR camera technology is in use for enforcement purposes will be erected," the council document declared.
While locating about half of the council cameras by eye with Google Street View, with the imagery dating from 2019, neither El Reg nor Kubecka noticed signs explicitly mentioning ANPR '' but there was no shortage of obscurely worded "traffic enforcement" signs along with the folding Brownie camera-like graphic associated for decades with speed cams.
ANPR camera just off Hunter's Bar Roundabout in Sheffield. Note the vandalized 'traffic enforcement' warning sign immediately in front of it
Above is an example of what the council actually put up in Sheffield city centre next to one of its ANPR cameras.
Security? Not even through obscurity An infosec researcher who asked not to be named looked at the server hosting the ANPR dashboard, and told us its configuration revealed the existence of an SFTP account as well as the address of a storage drive filled with raw ANPR images. In addition, we were told the IPv4 addresses of each and every camera was exposed through the dashboard.
Typically, ANPR systems consist of regular CCTV cameras feeding a software backend that scans captured still images with optical character recognition technology to isolate and identify number plates. Raw images sometimes capture the faces of drivers and passengers, as well as pedestrians passing by, people entering and leaving homes and shops, as well as anyone they happen to meet in sight of a camera. All of this could have been extracted by a hacker who guessed or brute-forced the password to the image storage server after finding the unsecured dashboard.
The dashboard also included a live-updating map that allowed anyone to pinpoint the precise location of a vehicle as it showed up on the ANPR system in real time. And, if you're wondering who supplied this technology, every page we were sent has 3M Neology at the top:
Lawyers for ANPR dashboard maker Neology told The Register the Sheffield system was put together by American megacorp 3M in September 2014. Around the same time, the business unit building the system was sold to Neology, with the lawyers insisting "our client has not been responsible for the management of the system" since then.
Back in 2011, South Yorkshire Police (SYP) led Britain in the ignoble national ANPR surveillance camera league table, as we reported at the time.
SYP managed to scan 726 million number plates last year, as trade mag Auto Express revealed last December. ®
Sponsored: Practical tips for Office 365 tenant-to-tenant migration
IES Releases New Report on Germicidal Ultraviolet (GUV) and How it Could Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 - EdisonReport
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mark Lien, IES Industry Relations Manager | email@example.com , 864.704.9986
The Illuminating Engineering Society releases new report on Germicidal Ultraviolet (GUV) and how it could reduce the spread of COVID-19
New York, NY, April 17, 2020. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a wave of seemingly conflicting statements and opinions about the disinfection capabilities and safety of GUV, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES, est. 1906) has issued a report by their Photobiology Committee explaining germicidal ultraviolet (GUV) disinfection and its potential to safely reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The authors of the report have provided answers to frequently asked questions about GUV, drawing from expertise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Harvard Medical School, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and from germicidal UV manufacturing and research organizations.Written to help protect healthcare workers and patients, the free download is available on the IES website, [click here], with an accompanying tutorial video explaining germicidal UV technology, its application, and safety considerations. ''The goal is to provide timely and objective information on a proven technology that can reduce the spread of this highly contagious virus,'' said Brian Liebel, IES Director of Standards and Research.
Germicidal UV can successfully and safely be deployed to disinfect air in occupied hospital spaces such as waiting rooms, intensive care units and operating rooms. In unoccupied controlled-access environments, germicidal UV can be used as a supplemental measure to disinfect room surfaces, to reduce the spread of healthcare associated infections. Germicidal UV is also being applied for disinfection of some personal protective equipment (PPE) for limited reuse during the pandemic. The FAQs emphasize the need for GUV to be applied correctly and monitored for output and safety, and that training on the operation and maintenance of the systems over time is also important. The IES report addresses these topics and recognizes that additional GUV technologies are in development, including efficacy and safety testing.
The committee report also cautions that ultraviolet disinfecting ''wands'' or other ultraviolet products for residential use'--as they are inadequately proven and unregulated'--may pose a safety hazard and are unlikely to provide the protection expected.
''The guidance included in this report should help medical professionals and consumers better understand germicidal UV products, and provides considerations for selecting and employing such technologies,'' said Dr. David Sliney, chair of the IES Photobiology Committee. The report was approved through the same careful and rigorous ANSI-approved development process as an IES standard.
About the Illuminating Engineering Society
Established in 1906, the IES is the recognized technical and educational authority on illumination. The strength of the IES is its diversified membership including engineers, architects, designers, educators, students, contractors, distributors, utility personnel, manufacturers, and scientists in 64 countries, all contributing to the mission of the Society: To improve the lighted environment by bringing together those with lighting knowledge and by translating that knowledge into actions that benefit the public. The IES is a 501(c)(3) non-profit professional society.
Apex man arrested for opening up his tattoo parlor during stay-at-home order :: WRAL.com
Apex, N.C. '-- By the time Matthew Myers opened his tattoo parlor on Wednesday, he all but knew he'd be arrested.
Tattoo and piercing businesses aren't considered essential under Gov. Roy Cooper's Executive Order or under Wake County's stay-at-home order, which are intended to limit the spread of COVID-19.
But Myers, the 38-year-old owner of Apex Tattoo Factory, feared his business would die and he'd be unable to pay for his mortgage. So he decided to open and announced his intentions on social media.
When the Apex Tattoo Factory opened at 1 p.m., and the police arrived shortly thereafter, Myers was ready.
After receiving complaints from residents, Apex police had called him about those plans and explained the law.
"I respect the Apex Police Department. And it's probably with the heaviest of heart of all that this has to happen in Apex," he said, adding: "That I have to be the one that's the first bee swatted."
In a statement, police said they consulted the Wake County District Attorney's office before charging Myers with violating "Emergency Prohibitions and Restrictions, North Carolina General Statute 14-288.20A" That could carry a $1,000 fine or a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail if Myers is convicted.
Police transported Myers to the Magistrate's office at the Wake County Jail in Raleigh, where bond was set. While Myers and his wife Amber told WRAL that his goal was to make a statement, he also rejected the idea that he's a criminal.
"I'm a law-abiding citizen. I've done nothing wrong," he said.
Amber Myers said her husband tried to get a small business loan and unemployment assistance, but he was unsuccessful.
"He has spent years building up this business and for it to be taken away after being shut down for so long would be horrible," Amber Meyers said.
The shop also posted about Myers' arrest on Facebook.
Amber said she supported the ReOpenNC movement -- a movement against Cooper's stay-at-home order. She said she and her husband have been attending the rallies in downtown Raleigh, the latest of which was Tuesday.
Myers was arrested without incident on Wednesday, the Apex Police Department said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
They said that, before arresting Myers, they offered contact information for the Wake County Emergency Management Business Liaison to potentially "discuss options."
In response, police say Myers acknowledged the order but said he still planned to open his business at 1 p.m.
"While understanding of and generally cooperative with officers, he refused to come into compliance with the Proclamation and was subsequently arrested without further incident," the police statement says.
Apex Mayor Jacques Gilbert, a retired police captain for the town, described Myers to WRAL as "a good man."
"Whatever the consequences are to his decision, I'm gonna be there after it all and extend my hand to him and say 'I'm in this with you,'" Gilbert told WRAL. "And I support you and we're gonna get through this together."
Gilbert said he is not urging people to break the law.
"What I would say about him is that he's making a decision that obviously I wouldn't make in my current position, but I'm not in his position," Gilbert said. "I don't know exactly how he feels."
US7159590B2 - Trachea tube with germicidal light source - Google Patents
Hydrogen Peroxide Has a Long History of Medical Use
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) consists of a water molecule (H2O) with an extra oxygen atom.
The oxygen inactivates viral pathogens by breaking down the viral structure
Additionally, our immune cells produce hydrogen peroxide. This is in part how your immune system kills infected cells. Hydrogen peroxide therapy aids aids immune cells to perform their natural function more effectively.
H202 is on the shelf at the local grocery or drug store for $1.00 a bottle.
The Big Q: Can an inexpensive and easy to administer at-home treatment treat the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2?
The Big A: Dr. Thomas Levy says Yes. The remedy is hydrogen peroxide H202, aerosolized in any standard nebulizer.
It's worth keeping in mind that while the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk of serious complications and death, the overall mortality rate of COVID-19 is quite low, and very similar to the flu.
A compilation of reported mortality statistics from around the world can be found in the paper,''Likelihood of Survival of Coronavirus Disease 2019,'' published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 30 March 2020.
For the latest up to the min COVID-19 resources click here.
To perform this treatment, you need but two items: a nebulizer with a face mask that covers your mouth and nose that emits a fine mist, and common household 3% hydrogen peroxide, available at most grocery stores and pharmacies for less than $1.
However, you may choose to purchase the more expensive food grade hydrogen peroxide as it doesn't have any stabilizers in it. Stabilizers are proprietary and companies do not need to disclose them on the label, but some can be problematic.
Typically food grade peroxide comes in concentrations higher than 3% so if you chose it your will need to dilute it down to 3% to use it.
Viruses are not ''alive'' they need a live host in which they can infect live cells that then replicate the viral DNA and RNA. Once a cell is infected, newly replicated viruses exit the cell and move on to the next cell to duplicate the process.
So, when they talk about ''killing'' a virus, they are talking about inactivating them by breaking down their structure. This is why soap works so well. Coronaviruses are held together by a lipid (fatty) coating. Soap, being amphipathic, meaning it can dissolve most molecules dissolves this fat membrane, causing the virus to fall apart and become harmless.
More specifically, the fat-like substances in soap are structurally similar to the lipids found in the virus membrane, so the soap molecules compete with and replace the fats in the membrane. In so doing, the ''fatty glue'' holding the virus together dissolves.
Hydrogen peroxide works in a similar way. As noted by Dr. Levy, ''the way to control any viral infection is not to kill the virus; rather, the infected cells that have been turned into viral factories must be killed.''
Our immune cells actually produce hydrogen peroxide. This is in part how the immune system kills cells that have been infected with a virus. By killing the infected cell, viral reproduction is stopped. So, hydrogen peroxide therapy is in essence only aiding our immune cells to perform their natural function more effectively.
Hydrogen peroxide is also a Key redox signaling agent.
''At the low physiological levels in the nanomolar range, H2O2 is the major agent signaling through specific protein targets, which engage in metabolic regulation and stress responses to support cellular adaptation to a changing environment and stress '...
Recent methodological advances permit the assessment of molecular interactions of specific ROS [reactive oxygen species] molecules with specific targets in redox signaling pathways.
Accordingly, major advances have occurred in understanding the role of these oxidants in physiology and disease, including the nervous, cardiovascular and immune systems, skeletal muscle and metabolic regulation as well as ageing and cancer.
In the past, unspecific elimination of ROS by use of low molecular mass antioxidant compounds was not successful in counteracting disease initiation and progression in clinical trials. However, controlling specific ROS-mediated signaling pathways by selective targeting offers a perspective for a future of more refined redox medicine.''
In short, hydrogen peroxide is a major ROS, but while ROS are typically thought of as ''all bad,'' this is a gross oversimplification.
As noted: ''Steady-state physiological flux of H2O2 to specific protein targets leads to reversible oxidation, thereby altering protein activity, localization and interactions, which contributes to orchestration of various processes in cells and organs, including cell proliferation, differentiation, migration and angiogenesis. This state of low-level H2O2 maintenance and its associated physiological redox signaling is called 'oxidative eustress.'''
Contrary to oxidative stress or oxidative distress, oxidative eustress denotes an oxidative challenge that has positive or beneficial effects and is essential in redox signaling.
The Studies: What they tells us
The most relevant study is 1 that was done earlier this year in the Journal of Hospital Infection. They studies 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, 6X weaker than the 3% typically used, and found that it killed human coronaviruses and SARS corona viruses and MERS.
Another study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control in Y 2009, assessed the efficacy of vaporized hydrogen peroxide against viruses on various surfaces, finding exposure to hydrogen peroxide vapor at a concentration of 10 parts per million resulted in 99% inactivation after 2.5 mins.
And a Y 2014 study in the Journal of Hospital Infection found hydrogen peroxide vapor eliminated an array of viruses on stainless steel, including human adenovirus 1, transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus of pigs (TGEV, a SARS-CoV surrogate), avian influenza virus and swine influenza virus.
According to the authors, ''Hydrogen peroxide vapor was virucidal against feline calicivirus, adenovirus, TGEV and avian influenza virus at the lowest vaporized volume tested (25 mL).'' Vaporized hydrogen peroxide was found to completely inactivate a range of exotic animal viruses in a Y 1997 study as well.
Hydrogen peroxide's ability to inactivate dangerous infectious viruses has also been highlighted in vaccine science. As noted in a Y 2016 study in the Vaccine journal, 3% hydrogen peroxide completely and irreversibly inactivated the rabies virus within 2 hrs, thus reducing time and cost of the inactivation process required for the making of a rabies vaccine, which contains inactivated rabies virus.
The most convenient to receive H202 is to inhale its mist, using a nebulizer a small, handheld device that converts liquid into a very fine mist.
The microscopic mist, similar to smoke or vapor, can be comfortably inhaled deep into the nostrils, sinuses and lungs. While nebulizers have routinely been used by asthmatics to deliver medication into their lungs, this delivery system affects not only the lungs but your entire body.
As noted in the Y 2002 review article, ''Pulmonary Drug Delivery Systems: Recent Developments and Prospects,'' ''Targeting drug delivery into the lungs has become one of the most important aspects of systemic '... drug delivery systems.''
In the case of respiratory infections, the nebulizer has the added advantage of delivering the hydrogen peroxide right to the areas most affected by respiratory viruses: the sinuses, throat, bronchial tract and lungs.
Dr. Levy writes: ''Effective hydrogen peroxide nebulization quite literally, 'chops the head off of the snake,' and the virus present elsewhere in the body can then readily be mopped up when the new virus influx has been terminated,''
It should be kept in mind that hydrogen peroxide kills pathogens very readily upon contact in an open wound. It should, therefore, be understandable why putting a fine mist of hydrogen peroxide in all the areas of maximal viral replication promptly puts the body on a pathway to rapid healing.''
Hydrogen Peroxide Protocol
To prevent an infection from taking hold, begin treatment at 1st signs of symptoms. Commercially available 3% hydrogen peroxide is fine for this purpose, and can be used without dilution.
If the undiluted solution stings or burns your nose, you can dilute it up to 50% with pure water. Even lower concentrations can be used, although the antiviral effects will be reduced at lower concentrations.
If already presenting with runny nose or sore throat, Dr. Levy recommends using the nebulizer for 10 to 15 mins 4X a day until the symptoms are relieved. You can also nebulized hydrogen peroxide for prevention and maintenance, which may be advisable during flu season, or while the COVID-19 pandemic is in full swing.
He notes: ''As it is a completely non-toxic therapy, nebulization can be administered as often as desired. If done on a daily basis at least once, a very positive impact on bowel and gut function will often be realized as killing the chronic pathogen colonization present in most noses and throats stops the 24/7 swallowing of these pathogens and their associated toxins.
If daily prevention is not a practical option, the effectiveness of this treatment is optimized when somebody sneezes in your face or you finally get off of the plane after a trans-Atlantic flight. Do not wait for initial symptoms. Just nebulize at your 1st opportunity.''
The following two tabs change content below. BioLatest PostsPaul A. Ebeling, polymath, excels in diverse fields of knowledge. Pattern Recognition Analyst in Equities, Commodities and Foreign Exchange and author of ''The Red Roadmaster's Technical Report'' on the US Major Market Indices', a highly regarded, weekly financial market letter, he is also a philosopher, issuing insights on a wide range of subjects to a following of over 250,000 cohorts. An international audience of opinion makers, business leaders, and global organizations recognizes Ebeling as an expert.
Swedish city to use chicken manure to deter crowds - BBC News
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Walpurgis Night celebrations take place across Sweden ever year The Swedish city of Lund is to spread chicken manure in its central park in an effort to deter crowds gathering for a festival.
Tens of thousands of people usually descend on southern city to celebrate Walpurgis Night, which is marked across Scandinavia.
But officials want to keep people away because of the coronavirus outbreak.
There is no lockdown in Sweden, where data show most people have taken to voluntary social distancing.
"Lund could very well become an epicentre for the spread of the coronavirus on the last night in April," the chairman of the local council's environment committee, Gustav Lundblad, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.
Defending the decision to spread a ton of chicken manure in the park, he said: "We get the opportunity to fertilise the lawns, and at the same time it will stink and so it may not be so nice to sit and drink beer."
The origins of Walpurgis Night date back to pagan celebrations of spring.
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Media caption 'Myth' that Sweden has not taken 'serious steps'
Novel coronavirus 2019 (SARS-CoV-2) is a viral infection that replicates in the upper respiratory tract. Approximately 10-15% of those infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have a severe clinical course, with nearly 5% becoming critically ill requiring mechanical ventilation due to respiratory failure. Death resulting from COVID-19 is thought to be due to respiratory failure and/or secondary infections including ventilator associated pneumonia.
To date, there is no known treatment for COVID-19 or conventional means to reduce secondary infections in mechanically ventilated patients. Any safe and effective antiviral and antibacterial treatment option for these patients that could lower viral load and improve factors of respiratory failure would be advantageous.
Ultraviolet (UV) Light
Ultraviolet (UV) is a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths from 10 nm to 400 nm. These wavelengths are shorter than that of visible light. Between the wavelengths 100 to 400 nm ultraviolet radiation (UV light) is subcategorized into three different ranges: Ultraviolet C (UVC) 100 '' 280 nm, Ultraviolet B (UVB) 280 '' 315 nm, and Ultraviolet A (UVA) 315 '' 400 nm.
UVC light is weak at the Earth's surface since it is absorbed by the ozone layer of the atmosphere, however UVC from manufactured lamps/lights has been widely used as a commercial germicide. Radiation between the 200 nm and 300 nm wavelengths are strongly absorbed by nucleic acid (DNA & RNA), leading to nucleic acid damage, and resulting in inactivation of the organism or death.
While UVC light has broad germicidal properties, it is also harmful to mammalian (human) cells. Alternatively, UVA and UVB devices have been FDA-approved with indications to treat human diseases including skin lymphoma, eczema, and psoriasis. Of the three spectrums, UVA light appears to cause the least damage to mammalian cells. Recent advances in light emitting diodes (LEDs) have made it much more feasible to manufacture and apply narrow band (NB) UVA light to internal organs.
Proof of Concept
An abstract led by the team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was published in the United European Gastroenterology Journal, October 2019, titled ''Internally Applied Ultraviolet Light as a Novel Approach for Effective and Safe Anti-Microbial Treatment.'' Here, the authors show that UVA light exhibits significant in vitro bactericidal effects in an array of clinically important bacteria. Additionally, this is the first study using intracolonic UVA application, which reports that UVA exposure is not associated with endoscopic or histologic injury. These findings suggest that UVA therapy can potentially provide a safe and effective novel approach to antimicrobial treatment via phototherapy on internal organs.
Josh Disbrow has been in the life sciences industry for over twenty years across pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and medical devices. Prior to forming Aytu BioScience, Josh was the Chief Operating Officer of Ampio Pharmaceuticals (NYSE MKT: AMPE) and led the Luoxis Diagnostics subsidiary. Luoxis was merged into Aytu in April 2015 following Luoxis' development of the technology behind the company's MiOXSYS in vitro diagnostic platform. Prior to joining '...
Jarrett Disbrow is a seasoned pharmaceutical entrepreneur having been the founder of three pharmaceutical and life sciences companies over the past decade and broad industry experience spanning over twenty years.
Most recently and prior to forming Aytu BioScience in April 2015, Jarrett was the President'...
Mark Pimentel, M.D., FRCP(C)
Executive Director, Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) ProgramProfessor of Medicine, Geffen School of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California
Mark Pimentel, M.D., is Professor of Medicine, Geffen School of Medicine and Associate Professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Pimentel completed 3 years of an undergraduate degree in honors microbiology and biochemistry at the University of'...
Ruchi Mathur MD, FRCPC
Director of Clinical Research at the Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Ruchi Mathur MD, FRCPC is the Director of Clinical Research at the Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She also serves as the medical director of the Diabetes program at Cedars-Sinai. Dr. Mathur is Professor of Medicine at both Cedars-Sinai and UCLA. Her research focuses on metabolic disease and the microbiome'...
Gil Y. Melmed, MD, MS
Co-Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California
Gil Y. Melmed, MD, MS, is the Co-Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He earned his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, and master of science in clinical research from UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles. He completed his gastroenterology fellowship at the'...
Ali Rezaie, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Director of Bioinformatics and GI Technologies at the Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Ali Rezaie, MD, MSc, FRCPC is the Director of Bioinformatics and GI Technologies at the Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He also serves as the medical director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Program at Cedars-Sinai. He is an assistant professor at'...
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The race to save Polesia, Europe's secret Amazon | World news | The Guardian
O n the banks of the Pripyat River lies a forest. On a crisp winter afternoon with an expansive blue sky above and hardened snow underfoot, the area is criss-crossed with the tracks of hares, deer and wolves. This is the south-eastern tip of Belarus, home to sleepy villages steeped in tradition, where people hang their Christmas trees upside-down from the ceiling and eat raw pig fat as an afternoon snack.
It is also part of Polesia, Europe's largest wilderness. More than two-thirds the size of the UK (18m hectares) and spread across Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, in spring this brittle landscape blooms into a labyrinth of gigantic bogs and swamps that supports large populations of wolves, bison, lynx and 1.5 million migratory birds. It has been called ''the Amazon of Europe'' for its extraordinary biodiversity.
Drone footageHowever, unlike its Brazilian cousin, this region is not best-known for its wildlife but something more sinister. In April 1986 this forgotten part of the Soviet Union made headlines after reactor 4 of the Chernobyl power plant blew up. The explosion cast a long shadow over Belarus, which absorbed 70% of the escaped radiation, making it one of the most contaminated places on Earth.
Now another catastrophe could be about to befall its people: the construction of the E40 waterway, a 2,000km (1,240-mile) inland shipping route linking the Black Sea and the Baltic that would slice through the wilderness and involve dredging inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Experts say this will destroy vast ecosystems and stir up radioactive sludge that accumulated on the bottom of the river following the explosion, potentially contaminating the drinking water of millions of people.
Route '' graphicDredging is due to start in the coming months following what campaigners have called a ''quick and dirty'' feasibility study that failed to consider the potentially catastrophic loss of biodiversity, radioactive contamination of drinking water, or loss of carbon from draining wetlands.
''We call E40 the death of Polesia. It would completely kill the south of the country,'' says Alexandre Vintchevski, founder of APB-BirdLife Belarus, the country's largest wildlife NGO. ''Very few people know we have our own mini Amazon in Europe which is threatened by the construction of a waterway that no one has heard of.''
Linking the Black and Baltic seasThe ambition to link the Black and Baltic seas dates back thousands of years. The ancient Greeks knew about this region and thought it must have been a sea because there was so much water, while Vikings paddled through Polesia's rivers during repeated attacks on Constantinople.
Small vessels can already pass through regulated stretches of the route but the rivers would need to be significantly broadened, with dams and dykes built and meanders cut off to allow ships at least 80 metres long to pass. The water will need to be at least 2.5 metres deep along the whole route. Up to seven million tonnes of cargo (mainly oil, fertilisers and wood) would pass through each year.
The E40 would stretch from Gdansk in Poland to Kherson in Ukraine, impacting five rivers en route: the Vistula, the Bug, the Pina, the Pripyat and the Dnieper, according to the feasibility study led by the Maritime Institute in Gdansk. At its closest it would pass only 2.5km from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, potentially contaminating a reservoir downstream that provides water for 2.8 million people in Kyiv.
Comparison of project '' graphicThe E40 project is being pushed by a coalition of organisations and government ministries from Belarus, Poland and Ukraine, which is being led by the the Dnieper-Bug Republican Unitary Maintenance and Construction Enterprise. A coalition of wildlife organisations led by APB-BirdLife Belarus, Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine is trying to stop the E40 going ahead.
One of Europe's least spoilt waterwaysThe Pripyat river is one of the least spoilt waterways in Europe and is an integral part of the biodiversity of Polesia. More than 90% of all birds in Belarus are found in Polesia (which comprises the southern third of the country) and there are a number of unique ecosystems, including floodplain oak groves and black alder forests. The waterway will have a direct impact on 12 internationally important wildlife reserves that protect a number of rare species. BirdLife estimates that three-quarters of the world's aquatic warblers are threatened by the construction of E40.
There are no other places in Europe where creatures can have so much space, yet because it was behind the iron curtain people don't know about it
The Mid Pripyat Reserve covers 120km of the river and is designed to protect the largest area of natural river floodplain in Europe. Along this stretch alone, 182 bird species have been recorded, many of which are rapidly losing habitats elsewhere.
One town within the reserve, Turov, has stood on the site for 1,000 years. The name is believed to originate from tur, the Slavic word for the aurochs, an ancestor of the cow which once would have been common here. These towns are the ''bloodlands'' of Europe where some of the worst crimes of the 20th century took place, including early Nazi pogroms. In Turov, 500 Jewish people were executed by the Nazis. Today it is home to about 3,000 people, has an ageing population and limited opportunities for the young. Like many towns in Belarus, it has kept Lenin-related street names, statues of Lenin and Soviet murals.
It is also one of Europe's most important sites for migratory birds, and just outside the town is a 144-hectare meadow managed by APB-BirdLife Belarus.
Over winter it looks like a large, unremarkable field where cattle are grazing. Networks of shrew tunnels and packs of stray dogs looking for trouble are the main signs of life. Volunteers regularly cut the scrub because wading birds like low grass as it allows nesting females to have a better view of potential danger.
In spring, the grassy island comes to life as it is swallowed up by the Pripyat. Globally threatened birds such as lesser white-fronted geese and black-tailed godwits flock here. More than 30 species of birds nest on Turov meadow, including half a million ruff, which have extraordinary mating rituals with some males disguising themselves as females to improve their chances of finding a partner. It has the highest breeding densities of northern lapwing and redshank in the world. There's an annual party in the village to celebrate the arrival of spring migrants and Vintchevski says international birders are also starting to show an interest in the region.
Four hours' drive downriver is the 190,000-hectare Pripyat National Park, nestled between the rivers Pripyat, Stviga and Ubort. It is visited by 256 bird species and contains rare alluvial oak forests unique to eastern Europe. The spring floods spread nutrients over the forest floor, making it particularly fertile. In winter the woods are still, but tracks in the snow show they are home to hares, wild boar and deer. It is completely silent except for the shrieks of siskin in the canopy.
Dr Helen Byron, the Save Polesia campaign coordinator at the FZS, explains that in spring the Pripyat floods in a similar way to the Amazon. ''The rivers, the meanders and the marshes are all similar to those found in the Amazon. Its size and importance as a stopover for a large number of birds is widely unknown. There are no other places in Europe where creatures can have so much space, and yet because it was behind the iron curtain people just don't know about it,'' she says.
Drone footageClimate change has already had an impact on the flooding, which means Polesia is becoming an increasingly fragile environment. Between 1955 and 1965, the river initially flooded in the first week of March but now it happens 16 days earlier. Fish are spawning between five and six days earlier. Winter floods are also becoming more frequent, with less flooding in spring, causing large areas of floodplain meadows, marshes, old lakes, wet oak and black alder forests to dry out.
Normally in January everything is frozen, but the last January snow fell in 2014, according to Vasil Blotski, who lives in the village of Verasnica with his wife Anastasia Blotskaja, head of Zhytkavichy APB-BirdLife Belarus branch. For Blotski, the river is a good place to take his two children fishing (they once caught a two-metre long catfish). He points out marks on the reeds that show the water level is more than two metres lower than it should be for this time of year.
Today he's caught a small perch, bream and roach in the space of 15 minutes which he'll cook for supper. He passes around chocolates and raw pig fat as he guts the fish. An eagle owl can be heard hooting in the background. ''I'm worried that my children will no longer be able to enjoy this,'' he says. ''The beauty of this local nature reserve is that it's unspoilt. It would be absolutely terrible if the E40 went ahead as I'm afraid we're going to lose this river and it will just become a channel for ships.''
In addition to implications for Polesia, these wetlands are an important carbon sink, with 2,000 square kilometres of valuable carbon-sequestering peatland. According to FZS, if 50% of peatlands in Polesia turned to forest and 50% to grassland, it would release the same amount of carbon dioxide as one to two million extra cars on UK roads every year.
The effects of radiationFurther downstream, the Pripyat glides into the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Despite being the ''worst nuclear disaster in history'', the official death toll is 54. Researchers believe the actual number could be as high as 200,000. Sizeable amounts of radioactive contamination fell far from the exclusion zone and thousands of deaths have not been properly investigated.
Polesia experienced a spike in cancers and birth defects following the disaster '' the ''Belarusian necklace'' refers to the horizontal scar after surgery for thyroid cancer. Some estimates suggest one in five people in Belarus still live on contaminated land. Poor people have the greatest exposure to radiation because they eat locally sourced food such as wild mushrooms, berries and milk.
Dredging will stir up nucleoids that have been concentrated in the silt for decades
However, for many people life carries on as normal. ''Because radiation is invisible no one was scared of it. I went to the 1 May parades after the explosion and had no idea it had happened. We still have very little information '' the only bits I get are from the TV,'' says Siarhei Stasienok, 65, a retired policeman who lives with his sister Tatiana, 64, in Kalinichy, just outside the exclusion zone.
''I was happy with Chernobyl and it would have been nice if it had exploded 10 or 20 years earlier. Everything was polluted after the explosion and money was put into the village to get better roads and clean water. We got new fences and there was generally a lot of investment in the village.''
Stasienok has a 3D portrait of Lenin on the outside his house. Inside, doilies cover the windows and an old-fashioned rotary dial telephone sits on the windowsill. There is still no running water.
Before Chernobyl there were 100 people living in Kalinichy, now there are 10. ''People have been dying in this village but not until a few years after the explosion. We don't know if they were killed by the radiation because doctors are not allowed to officially put cancer on death certificates,'' he says. When someone dies their house is destroyed to prevent others moving in.
Stasienok had heard about the E40 plans but didn't know much more than that. ''I only believe things I can see,'' he says.
The zone of exclusion should stay a zone of exclusion as it was designed ... these are long-lived contaminants
Down the road from Stasienok's house is the village of Smalehau, which had such high levels of radiation the entire place was wrapped in plastic and buried. Only the road down the middle and the graveyard at one end remain. Former residents are only allowed to return in a coffin.
Soviet experts have long maintained there is no need to further study the effects of radiation in this area, but many international scientists say we still know very little about it. Prof Wladimir Wertelecki, of the University of South Alabama, who has been studying birth defects in northern Polesia since 2000, says: ''It is fundamental to study the rivers. Nothing is known without that. Dredging will stir up nucleoids that have been concentrated in the silt for decades. Radiation is not only airborne, rainborne and windborne but also waterborne.''
Kate Brown, a specialist in nuclear history from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future, describes Polesia as a ''layered toxic landscape''. She agrees there are likely to be high levels of radiation at the bottom of the river. ''Part of the reason radioactivity in that region keeps getting suspended is because it's a floody, swampy terrain. That was a wonderful ecological system in the past because it fertilised the pasture every year. Now what it does is that it re-suspends radioactivity in the soils,'' she says.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has recommended that the Kyiv reservoir remains undisturbed.
Brown adds: ''The zone of exclusion should stay a zone of exclusion as it was designed. We have such impatience; these are long-lived contaminants, but we want everything to decay on a normal biological timescale.''
What next?Despite these concerns, discussions around E40 have been going on since 2013 and are now gaining momentum. Ukrainian and Belarusian government officials have agreed to start dredging the Dnieper and Pripyat rivers.
Nobody cared about protecting the Pripyat until someone outside the country said it was important
Speaking at a press conference in Minsk last September, the Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko, said the Dnieper-Pripyat waterway could become an important part of the E40, which would essentially give Belarus access to the Black Sea. In Kyiv in the same month, Ukraine's prime minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk, said the project was ''absolutely real'' and ready to be implemented. Ten million UAH (£315,000) has been allocated to dredge 64.5km of the Pripyat river in Ukraine, according to the minister of infrastructure, Vladislav Krikli.
Official documents suggest the Polish government has requested investment through China's ''belt and road'' initiative, although it is not known if it has been granted.
The waterway will have a direct impact on more than 70 wildlife reserves. In Poland, the waterway will pass through Natura 2000 sites, which are protected under EU law. As a result, the feasibility study suggests a canal should be built adjacent to the river Bug; this is the most expensive part of the project. However, such attempts at mitigation are not afforded to reserves in Belarus and Ukraine.
''For me the E40 project is similar to a project on turning northern rivers to southern deserts: dividends to a small group of developers and builders and irreversible consequences for the wildlife in Polesia will take place. Some of the local inhabitants will get jobs at the E40 but most will suffer from the artificial changes in the region's ecosystems,'' says Vintchevski.
Without an environmental assessment in place, environmental supporters have no leverage over those who are moving the E40 project forward
The EU provided '¬500,000 sponsorship for the 2015 feasibility study but refused to finance the project further due to concerns about mounting economic, social and environmental costs. Matti Maasikas, head of the EU delegation to Ukraine, wrote a damning report published in September 2019 saying the project violated both national legislation and international treaties.
Maasikas said the waterway would have ''devastating consequences'' for ecosystems in all three countries and would result in a ''critical loss of biodiversity''. Economically, he said, the project (with an estimated cost of more than '¬12bn) was ''unsound'' and posed a serious threat of secondary radioactive pollution. He also criticised the feasibility study for ignoring the issue of climate change, which makes the construction of new waterways ''unjustified and uneconomical'', especially given the E40 would need to be at least 2.5 metres deep along its entire route.
Without EU financing Poland, Ukraine and Belarus are now looking to implement the project in individual sections. Maasikas raised concerns that fragments of E40 infrastructure were being developed ''as if the project was already approved by all interested parties and supported by the public''.
When APB-BirdLife conservationists requested a meeting with the Belarusian ministry of transport and communications to discuss the environmental implications of the E40, deputy minister Natalia Alexandrovich said there was nothing to discuss because no decisions had been made.
PrzemysÅaw Daca, the head of the Polish State Water Enterprise, says that the E40 would be a ''pro-environment'' development. ''Waterborne transport is environmentally friendly, reduces CO2 emissions and other gases and particulates in the air. It also reduces noise emissions, the number of vehicles on roads and thus the number of road accidents.'' Ministers in Ukraine and Belarus declined the Guardian's request for comment.
Ivan Shchadranok, director of a sustainable development NGO Interakcia Foundation, which lobbied for the E40 at the start of the project, acknowledged that there has not been an adequate survey of the environmental implications of the project. However, he highlighted that the feasibility study found the impact of the waterway would not be as dramatic as some environment NGOs seem to think. ''As a member of the cross-border commission I always tried to involve environmentalists in the creation of the feasibility study '... Environmentalists are against such a study as they consider it as the first step to approval of the E40 restoration. So the situation is quite complicated,'' he says.
Shchadranok believes there should be scientific research on the waterway before dredging starts but he thinks this is unlikely and environmental issues will continue to be overlooked. ''Without a highly credible and accurate environmental assessment in place, environmental supporters have no leverage over those who are moving the E40 project forward now.''
Shchadranok says the issue of radioactive contamination is considered ''quite serious by some water experts'' but that he does not have the expertise to comment further.
Researchers from FZS are now rushing to help officials in Belarus and Ukraine have Polesia declared a Unesco world heritage site on account of its biodiversity. They believe it is in the same league as Yellowstone or Serengeti national parks.
''Nobody cared about protecting the Pripyat until someone outside the country said it was important,'' says Vintchevski, who is working with FZS to get the project stopped. ''We have been living next to something extraordinary without even noticing. Polesia is special, but few people saw it like that and now it could be too late.''
Find more age of extinction coverage here, and follow biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield on Twitter for all the latest news and features
' This article was amended on 10 March 2020 to clarify that the Interakcia Foundation is no longer lobbying for the E40 project and that Ivan Shchadranok's comments about its potential environmental impact were based on the conclusions of the feasibility study, not his personal opinion.
Coronavirus map shows the 22 hotspots where cases could explode as eight states lift lockdowns '' The US Sun
OMINOUS maps show the 22 spots around the US where coronavirus cases could be set to explode as eight states ease lockdown restrictions.
The maps were made by monitoring social media posts in which locals talked about having tested positive, experienced symptoms, or been exposed to the coronavirus.
The study, conducted by data firm Dataminr, identified a rise in posts in 22 metropolitan areas in which significant outbreaks are yet to be seen.
The areas were spread across Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
The company says that a March 30 study identified similar spikes in 14 states, and that all 14 saw a rise in cases within a week of publication.
Those findings align with CDC warnings that COVID-19 symptoms are most likely to appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
The population in the county within a city and the time gap between social media and case spikes for those hot spots are:
Nashville, TN - 700,000 - 12 day gap
Atlanta, GA - 1.1million - 7 day gap
Columbus, OH - 1.4 million - 10 day gap
Houston, TX - 4.7 million - 8 day gap
Indianapolis, IN - 965,000 - 13 day gap
Miami, FL - 2.7 million - 10 day gap
Columbia, SC - 415,800 - 13 day gap
Detroit, MI - 1.75 million - 6 day gap
The study comes as a number of states, including some of those highlighted as potential hotspots, began to lift their lockdowns.
Those to have begun easing restrictions are Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Many have relaxed restrictions on movement and allowed some businesses to reopen, though social distancing guidelines remain in force.
In the week since the study concluded, figures independent from the analysis show that infections have already begun to spike in many of the 22 areas.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp started to reopen the state from April 24 Credit: Getty Images - Getty GeorgiaIn Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp is pushing one of the most aggressive reopening plans in the US. Barbershops, gyms and nail salons were allowed to reopen Friday and dine-in restaurant service and movie screenings were freed to resume Monday - despite warnings that, without sufficient testing, the state could see a surge in infections.
States that are reopening
Montana: From May 4
Missouri: May 4
Maine: From May 1
Ohio: From May 1
Iowa: May 1
Alabama: From April 30
Minnesota: From April 27
Mississippi: From April 27
Tennessee: From April 27
Colorado: From April 27
Michigan: From April 24
Alaska: From April 24
Georgia: From April 24
Oklahoma: From April 24
South Carolina: From April 20
Texas: From April 20
Two areas in Georgia were analyzed as hotspots.
In Chatham County, infections increased by 32 in the past week. The week prior saw 25 new infections.
Clarke County saw an increase of 26 infections last week and 14 new cases the week before.
Chatham County in Georgia currently has 217 infections. The number of cases appeared to increase about a month after social media posts spiked South CarolinaIn South Carolina's Charleston County, infections jumped 35 in the last week and 50 the week prior.
Greenville County in South Carolina recorded 144 new infections last week and 117 cases the week before.
Greenville County, South Carolina currently has 661 infections. The number of infections appeared to increase about a week after social media posts appeared to spike 13
In Horry County, South Carolina infections have now risen to 211. Infections appeared to increase around the same time social media posts started to also rise 13
In Charleston County, South Carolina the currently number of infections is at 438. The number of cases appeared to increase about a month after social media spiked OhioIn Lucas County in Ohio, infections spiked by 313 last week compared to the 257 cases the week before.
Ohio has seen 17,303 cases and around a thousand deaths, but is planning to reopen on May 1.
Lucas County, Ohio currently has 1166 infections. Infections increased by 313 last week and 257 the week prior. The infections appeared to spike about a week after an increase in social media posts 13
Montgomery County in Ohio has 266 infections after increasing by 29 cases in a week. Infections increased about three weeks after an increase in social media posts IndianaIndiana's St. Joseph County recorded 160 new infections last week and 169 a week earlier.
In Indiana's Tippecanoe County, there are currently 95 infections. That's an increase of 36 cases in a week. Social media posts spike about a month prior to infections rising 13
St. Joseph County in Indiana has 602 infections. Cases increased last week by 160 and 169 in the week prior 13
Monroe County, Indiana currently has 122 infections. The number of cases appeared to increase about three weeks after a spike in social media posts TenneseeExponential growth in social media clusters occurred 12 days prior to exponential growth in COVID-19 case count in Nashville's Hamilton County.
FloridaFlorida, a place renowned for its elderly population, currently has over 33 thousand cases.
Bay County, Florida currently has 70 infections. Cases appeared to spike about a month after social media posts increased 13
Manatee County, Florida now has 563 infections. Infections increased by 120 in the past week and 166 the week prior. The number of cases appeared to increase about three weeks after a spike in social media posts 13
In Escambia County, Florida the current number of cases is 485. Cases appeared to increase about three weeks after the number of social media posts spiked 13
Polk County, Florida currently has 457 infections after increasing by 101 in a week. Infections spiked about two weeks after an increase in social media posts Warning
HORROR SCENENaked mum found walking down street with her daughter's severed head in a bag
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THE TUPAC FILESBombshell Tupac police files opened after cops' 24 yr battle to keep secret
Public health authorities have warned that increasing human interactions and economic activity may spark a new surge of infections just as social distancing measures appear to be bringing coronavirus outbreaks under control.
Stay-at-home orders issued by governors across the US and subsequent decisions to slowly reopen state economies have turned into highly charged political issues in recent weeks as the shutdowns have hammered the nation's economy.
Trump wants to hold big rallies before November election and doesn't think 'all the testing is necessary' Do you have a story for The US Sun team?
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J.Crew Group Inc., the preppy retailer that recently fell on hard times, is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection, one of several high-profile U.S. chains that are on the verge of unraveling during the coronavirus pandemic.
J.Crew has been in talks with a group of lenders for several weeks since the company was forced to cancel plans to take its Madewell subsidiary public, people familiar with the matter said. The company had planned to use the proceeds of the Madewell IPO to pay down part of its $1.7 billion debt. But the IPO plans were scrapped in March.
A deal hasn't been reached with lenders and the retailer's board hasn't signed off on any plan, one of the people said. A filing could come as soon as this weekend, some of the people said.
J.Crew, which was taken private in a leveraged buyout in 2010, has struggled in recent years with fashion missteps and its debt load as more people shifted to fast-fashion chains and online shopping. It narrowly avoided bankruptcy as part of a 2017 debt swap, and the company's longtime leader Mickey Drexler stepped aside as CEO in that same year.
Like a number of U.S. retailers, J.Crew shut its stores in March as the fast-spreading coronavirus prompted government officials to mandate nonessential businesses close. With most of their sales gone, retailers that were struggling before the pandemic have laid off tens of thousands of workers, decided not to pay April rents and tapped credit lines.
Neiman Marcus Group Ltd. LLC is also in the process of finalizing talks with multiple groups of lenders ahead of a bankruptcy filing, according to a person familiar with the matter. J.C. Penney Co. has been in talks with lenders for bankruptcy financing that could total $1 billion, the Journal has reported.
J.Crew had counted on using the proceeds of the Madewell IPO filing to pay down some of its debt, but in early March it became clear as the stock market started to spiral down that no IPO was possible.
Instead, J.Crew started negotiating with a group of lenders with a loan maturity looming in less than a year after ditching the Madewell IPO plans, according to the people familiar with the matter. The company, which has been working with advisers from investment bank Lazard and law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges, has a $4 million payment due at the end of April.
The company restructured its debt outside of bankruptcy in 2017 in a controversial deal that swapped $500 million of bonds due in 2019 for new securities backed by the intellectual property behind the J.Crew brand. Its lenders include Anchorage Capital Group LLC and Blackstone Group Inc.'s GSO Capital Partners LP.
Anchorage is leading a group of lenders who are in talks to provide a loan to finance the company during a bankruptcy, according to people familiar with the matter.
Founded in 1983 as a catalog retailer, J.Crew popularized a brand of preppy chic that included items like the rollneck sweater, weathered chino, barn jacket and pocket T-shirt.
It eventually added stores and sold a majority stake to the Texas Pacific Group in 1997. Mr. Drexler joined in 2003, and the company went public in 2006. It was taken private again in a leveraged buyout in 2010 by Texas Pacific, which had changed its name to TPG, and Leonard Green & Partners.
The company hired former West Elm executive Jim Brett as CEO in 2017. Mr. Brett left after 16 months following clashes with Mr. Drexler and the board over his strategy and spending plans, according to people familiar with the situation. Mr. Brett had veered from the brand's preppy image, signed a deal to sell some clothes on Amazon.com Inc. and added more lower priced items.
In January, J.Crew named former Victoria's Secret executive Jan Singer as CEO.
J.Crew Group swung to a profit of $1.5 million for the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, compared with a $74.4 million loss a year earlier. Total revenues increased 2% to $2.54 billion, but those gains were driven by Madewell.
'--Miriam Gottfried contributed to this article.
Write to Suzanne Kapner at Suzanne.Kapner@wsj.com and Soma Biswas at email@example.com
Amazons CEO tells investors you may want to take a seat as he explains why the company will spend entirety of 4 billion profit - MarketWatch
Jeff Bezos: 'We are inspired by all the essential workers we see doing their jobs '-- nurses and doctors, grocery store cashiers, police officers, and our own extraordinary frontline employees'Amazon reports earnings, and Jeff Bezos issues a warning of sorts.
Amazon.com Inc. unsurprisingly topped expectations for quarterly sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was comments from CEO Jeff Bezos, in a written statement accompanying the retailer's earnings report, that really drew the focus on Wall Street Thursday evening.
'If you're a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we're not thinking small.' Jeff Bezos
The remarks constituted arguably the lengthiest such statement from the world's richest man in a quarterly report and underscored the magnitude of the deadly disease that has left much of the world struggling to emerge from forced business shutdowns and a temporary cessation of normalcy to help limit the contagion's spread.
In that environment, Amazon AMZN +4.27% has prospered, serving as the go-to online delivery service, one that had previously managed to crush competitors through the sheer might of a $1.2 trillion behemoth. Some rivals, indeed, have buckled under the strain of the current environment even as Amazon's shares have soared 34% so far in 2020.
Read: Amazon will spend $4 billion or more on coronavirus response, potentially wiping out Q2 profit
However, Bezos shied away from how decisively the cloud-computing and consumer-services company has distanced itself from competitors, including long-established retailers like Macy's M -3.46% and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. JCP -2.31% who find themselves on the ropes.
Check out: Apple, Amazon and Gilead take anchor leg of earnings race with a big lead
Instead, the Amazon boss focused on the road ahead.
Bezos's statement highlights the costs that companies that survive this public health crisis will face in the coming weeks, months and years as they take steps to ensure the safety of workers and customers alike.
''We are inspired by all the essential workers we see doing their jobs '-- nurses and doctors, grocery store cashiers, police officers, and our own extraordinary frontline employees,'' he wrote.
''The service we provide has never been more critical, and the people doing the frontline work '-- our employees and all the contractors throughout our supply chain '-- are counting on us to keep them safe as they do that work,'' wrote Bezos. ''We're not going to let them down.''
Amazon reported $75 billion in sales in the first quarter, but its profit declined.
Amazon's expected expenditures going forward also could deliver a hit to the company in the coming quarters. Shares of Amazon were down 5.5% in after-hours trades following gains during Thursday's regular trading session.
The company's stock has climbed 34% so far this year, a remarkable feat for the first three months of any year but one that comes with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -1.17% the S&P 500 index SPX -0.92% down 15% and 10%, respectively, in 2020. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP -0.28% is off just 0.9%.
As Wall Street has been split into haves and have-nots amid the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon has only strengthened its position among the former.
Bezos's fortune, meanwhile, has surged by more than $24 billion since the pandemic took the broader market for a roller-coaster ride, according to Fortune. That rise has lifted his net worth to a stunning $148.6 billion, according to Forbes, making him by far the richest person in the world, even after relinquishing much of his wealth to his partner in divorce proceedings back in July.
Check out Bezos's full statement below:
From online shopping to AWS to Prime Video and Fire TV, the current crisis is demonstrating the adaptability and durability of Amazon's business as never before, but it's also the hardest time we've ever faced,'' said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. ''We are inspired by all the essential workers we see doing their jobs'--nurses and doctors, grocery store cashiers, police officers, and our own extraordinary frontline employees. The service we provide has never been more critical, and the people doing the frontline work'--our employees and all the contractors throughout our supply chain'--are counting on us to keep them safe as they do that work. We're not going to let them down. Providing for customers and protecting employees as this crisis continues for more months is going to take skill, humility, invention, and money. If you're a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we're not thinking small. Under normal circumstances, in this coming Q2, we'd expect to make some $4 billion or more in operating profit. But these aren't normal circumstances. Instead, we expect to spend the entirety of that $4 billion, and perhaps a bit more, on COVID-related expenses getting products to customers and keeping employees safe. This includes investments in personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of our facilities, less efficient process paths that better allow for effective social distancing, higher wages for hourly teams, and hundreds of millions to develop our own COVID-19 testing capabilities. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, and the best investment we can make is in the safety and well-being of our hundreds of thousands of employees. I'm confident that our long-term oriented shareowners will understand and embrace our approach, and that in fact they would expect no less. Read on: Amazon's stock is falling as first-quarter profit comes in lower than expected
Welcome to Reddit's own amateur (ham) radio club. If you are wondering what Amateur Radio is about, it's basically a two way radio service where licensed operators throughout the world experiment and communicate with each other on frequencies reserved for license holders.All topics relating to the hobby are welcome here, from purchasing and building equipment, to operating techniques and activities, and everything in between.
W.H.O. Hails No-Lockdown Sweden as 'Model' for Other Nations
The worldwide debate about how to best manage the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic grew more complicated on Wednesday when top World Health Organization (W.H.O) official Dr. Mike Ryan, emergencies program executive director, praised Sweden as a ''model'' for other nations to follow.
Sweden famously chose not to impose lockdowns or freeze their national economy as the United States and most other countries have.
Fox News quoted Ryan lavishing praise on every aspect of Sweden's approach to the coronavirus:
''I think if we are to reach a new normal, I think in many ways Sweden represents a future model of '-- if we wish to get back to a society in which we don't have lockdowns,'' Dr. Mike Ryan said while speaking to reporters from Geneva.
Ryan, who serves as executive director of WHO's Emergencies Program, praised Sweden's health care system and credited it with making all the right moves from the beginning of the outbreak.
''They've been doing the testing, they've ramped up their capacity to do intensive care quite significantly,'' he added. ''And their health system has always remained within its capacity to respond to the number of cases that they've been experiencing.''
Sweden is a very meaty bone of contention in arguments about pandemic response, with critics arguing that its refusal to impose lockdowns has resulted in a high number of infections and deaths, even though its total of 21,092 confirmed cases and 2,586 fatalities as of Friday remains lower than most other European countries in absolute terms. The validity of comparing Sweden with other countries is hotly contested by all sides of the coronavirus argument.
Ryan felt the criticism of Sweden for taking a careless approach to the pandemic is unfair, given the results.
''Sweden has put in place a very strong public policy around social distancing, around caring and protecting for people in long term care facilities and many other things. What it has done differently is it has very much relied on its relationship with its citizenry and the ability and willingness of citizens to implement physical distancing and to self-regulate,'' he said.
Opinions on Sweden vary depending on who the opinion-giver decides to compare it with and how the numbers are calculated. The New York Times (NYT) on Wednesday said Sweden's death rate is comparable to Ireland's low numbers and ''far better than in Britain or France,'' while Sweden's critics prefer to compare it with other Scandinavian countries and calculate a Swedish death rate that is several times higher than Denmark, Norway, or Finland, all of which imposed strict lockdowns.
The NYT further complicated these comparisons by suggesting Sweden's numbers are higher because it has more aggressively and accurately reported its numbers of infections and deaths than its neighbors, who have all been obliged to make sizable upward revisions after discovering the number of deaths was undercounted.
No sooner had Polit i co drawn partisan battle lines around Sweden on Thursday by declaring that American conservatives ''have developed a fascination with Sweden's hands-off approach to the coronavirus'' than President Donald Trump announced himself to be one of Sweden's critics on Twitter, lining up with those who believe the Swedish approach compares poorly with the other Scandinavian lockdowns.
Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown. As of today, 2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206) or Denmark (443). The United States made the correct decision!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2020
Besides arguing if Sweden's refusal to impose lockdowns was a humanitarian disaster '' or addressing the far more difficult argument of if the country made a reasonable decision to accept more coronavirus cases to avoid the economic and humanitarian damage from a lockdown '' observers are puzzled as to how Sweden managed to do so much better than most models predicted.
The New York Times speculated Sweden might have benefited from being a ''high-trust society'' whose citizens did not have to be coerced into taking effective social distancing measures, but then noticed the Swedes do not seem to be socially distancing all that much. The streets of Stockholm were filled on Tuesday with shoppers, strollers, and diners enjoying a lovely spring day and pronouncing themselves quite satisfied with the decision to avoid a lockdown:
While other countries were slamming on the brakes, Sweden kept its borders open, allowed restaurants and bars to keep serving, left preschools and grade schools in session and placed no limits on public transport or outings in local parks. Hairdressers, yoga studios, gyms and even some cinemas have remained open.
Gatherings of more than 50 people are banned. Museums have closed and sporting events have been canceled. At the end of March, the authorities banned visits to nursing homes.
That's roughly it. There are almost no fines, and police officers can only ask people to oblige. Pedestrians wearing masks are generally stared at as if they have just landed from Mars.
''Once you get into a lockdown, it's difficult to get out of it. How do you reopen? When?'' asked Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, echoing the questions just about everyone in the Western world is asking right now.
Sweden's answer was to avoid lockdowns altogether, and however its statistics might measure up against countries of comparable size, the Times noted Sweden unquestionably managed to ''flatten the curve'' because its intensive care units never came anywhere near filling to capacity.
The primary goal of the lockdowns in other countries was said to be avoiding a disastrous overstraining of ICUs by a flood of patients, as occurred in Italy. According to health officials, Sweden still has hundreds of empty hospital beds. Tegnell said the biggest regret among health experts at the moment is the high toll the coronavirus has taken on the elderly population.
S.E. Cupp on Twitter: "Biden: ''I view myself as a transition candidate. My job is to bring the Mayor Petes of the world into this administration."" / Twitter
Log in Sign up S.E. Cupp @ secupp Biden: ''I view myself as a transition candidate. My job is to bring the Mayor Petes of the world into this administration."
7:42 PM - 30 Apr 2020 Dan @ LawoftheGator
57m Replying to
@secupp ''Basically I'm a cipher running as a proxy for all the people you weren't going to turn out to vote for''
View conversation · Baseball is almost back @ LastWordWilliam
36m Replying to
@secupp Not sure that's a winning message to sell to America
View conversation · dbg @ dbg0501
1h Replying to
@secupp That's pretty weak but altogether accurate. What he doesn't fess up to is that he serves no more than 90 days of any office he might win. He'd step down for medical reasons and the VP steps in. This is the most important VP pick in history. It's who the Dems are actually electing
View conversation · NEO @ XalphacompleX
56m Replying to
@dbg0501 @secupp I have no doubt this is the Agenda.
View conversation · mallen2010 @ mallen2010
2h Replying to
@secupp Yeah--not many actually believe Joe would finish out even one term.
View conversation · Joe Hiden @ GonnaBeYuge
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@secupp ''Just drag me over the finish line'' ð
View conversation · Blueboylife. wake up America! @ blueboylife
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@GonnaBeYuge @secupp ð
View conversation · Michael Delbar @ mmdelbar
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@secupp No thank you.
View conversation · The World is on Fire! @ sunkcosts13
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@secupp So basically he is admitting he brings nothing to the table but hopes things will be better in the future. Sweet presidential material.
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The military fired me for calling our enemies radical jihadis
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is reportedly being vetted by Donald Trump as a potential running mate, was fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in the winter of 2014 after three decades in the military. Here he tells the real story of his departure from his post and why America is not getting any closer to winning the war on terror.
Two years ago, I was called into a meeting with the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and the director of national intelligence, and after some ''niceties,'' I was told by the USDI that I was being let go from DIA. It was definitely an uncomfortable moment (I suspect more for them than me).
I asked the DNI (Gen. James Clapper) if my leadership of the agency was in question and he said it was not; had it been, he said, they would have relieved me on the spot.
I knew then it had more to do with the stand I took on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements. I felt the intel system was way too politicized, especially in the Defense Department. After being fired, I left the meeting thinking, ''Here we are in the middle of a war, I had a significant amount of combat experience (nearly five years) against this determined enemy on the battlefield and served at senior levels, and here it was, the bureaucracy was letting me go.'' Amazing.
At the time, I was working very hard to change the culture of DIA from one overly focused on Washington, DC, to a culture that focused on our forward-based war fighters and commanders. It was not an easy shift, but it was necessary and exactly the reason I was put into the job in the first place.
In the end, I was pissed but knew that I had maintained my integrity and was determined in the few months I had left to continue the changes I was instituting and to keep beating the drum about the vicious enemy we were facing (still are).
I would not change a lick how I operate. Our country has too much at stake.
We're in a global war, facing an enemy alliance that runs from Pyongyang, North Korea, to Havana, Cuba, and Caracas, Venezuela. Along the way, the alliance picks up radical Muslim countries and organizations such as Iran, al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State.
That's a formidable coalition, and nobody should be shocked to discover that we are losing the war.
If our leaders were interested in winning, they would have to design a strategy to destroy this global enemy. But they don't see the global war. Instead, they timidly nibble around the edges of the battlefields from Africa to the Middle East, and act as if each fight, whether in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Libya or Afghanistan, can be peacefully resolved by diplomatic effort.
As we defeat them on the ground, we must clearly and forcefully attack their crazy doctrines. Defeat on battlefields does great damage to their claim to be acting as agents of divine will.
This approach is doomed. We have real enemies, dedicated to dominating and eventually destroying us, and they are not going to be talked out of their hatred. Iran, for example, declared war on the United States in 1979 '-- that's 37 years ago '-- and has been killing Americans ever since. Every year, the State Department declares Iran to be the world's primary supporter of terror. Do you think we'll nicely and politely convince them to be good citizens and even (as President Obama desires) a responsible ally supporting peace? Do you think ISIS or the Taliban wants to embrace us?
No, we're not going to talk our way out of this war, nor can we escape its horrors. Ask the people in San Bernardino or South Florida, or the relatives of the thousands killed on 9/11. We're either going to win or lose. There is no other ''solution.''
I believe we can and must win. This war must be waged both militarily and politically; we have to destroy the enemy armies and combat enemy doctrines. Both are doable. On military battlefields, we have defeated radical Islamic forces every time we have seriously gone after them, from Iraq to Afghanistan. Their current strength is not a reflection of their ability to overwhelm our armed forces, but rather the consequence of our mistaken and untimely withdrawal after demolishing them.
We have failed to challenge their jihadist doctrines, even though their true believers only number a small fraction of the Muslim world, and even though everybody, above all most living Muslims, knows that the Islamic world is an epic failure, desperately needing economic, cultural and educational reform of the sort that has led to the superiority of the West.
So first of all, we need to demolish the terror armies, above all in the Middle East and Libya. We have the wherewithal, but lack the will. That has to change. It's hard to imagine it happening with our current leaders, but the next president will have to do it.
As we defeat them on the ground, we must clearly and forcefully attack their crazy doctrines. Defeat on battlefields does great damage to their claim to be acting as agents of divine will. After defeating al Qaeda in Iraq, we should have challenged the Islamic world and asked: ''How did we win? Did Allah change sides?''
We need to denounce them as false prophets, as we insist on the superiority of our own political vision. This applies in equal measure to the radical secular elements of the enemy coalition. Is North Korea some sort of success story? Does anyone this side of a university seminar think the Cuban people prefer the Castros' tyranny to real freedom? Is Vladimir Putin a model leader for the 21st-century world?
Just as the Muslim world has failed, so the secular tyrants have wrecked their own countries. They hate us in part because they know their own peoples would prefer to live as we do. They hope to destroy us before they have to face the consequences of their many failures.
Remember that Machiavelli insisted that tyranny is the most unstable form of government.
It infuriates me when our president bans criticism of our enemies, and I am certain that we cannot win this war unless we are free to call our enemies by their proper names: radical jihadis, failed tyrants, and so forth.
With good leadership, we should win. But we desperately need good leaders to reverse our enemies' successes.
Flynn is the author of the new book ''The Field of Fight'' (St. Martin's Press), out Tuesday.
Ever since they were introduced, RFID chips and readers have made countless lives easier. Instead of manually tracking each product, now you can attach a tiny chip to them and scan as they go out. Although this technology continues to prove and show its benefits, there is still some skepticism as to how well it can be implemented in the real world. Well, as we are about to see with Michelin, the results are astounding.
RFID and TiresIf you own a trucking company, then you know that tires are a big part of the job. Because they are assaulted for thousands of miles, constant maintenance has to be done to ensure that they are running at optimal pressure and traction. As they wear down, they need to be replaced, and they should be topped off every few thousand miles to help with fuel efficiency.
Wouldn't it be fantastic if you could get a detailed reading of your tires before in real time so that you know precisely when maintenance needs to be done? What if the tire could tell you when it's crossed a certain pressure threshold and notify you to refill it?
Well, that's the future for you, and Michelin is driving this progress with their new implementation program.
How it WorksRight now, the company is adding RFID chips into their tires for easier tracking and inventory purposes, but they are working with the Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. to develop new sensors that can provide a wealth of data on the tires as they are out on the road.
To make things easier for the consumer, Michelin is also developing a service called Michelin Tire Asset Management that utilizes the data transmitted from the road. Using an app, they can identify problems and perform whatever maintenance is needed. The benefit of having this information is that you can focus your attention on the tires that need it most, and then rotate them so you can ensure each one gets used to its full potential.
Michelin's Tire Care ProgramStarted back in 2015, this service was designed to help fleets maintain their tires on a regular basis and provide solutions to the most common problems faced out on the road. Low inflation, reduced traction, and other issues can lead to a lot of loss for the companies over time. If you are losing an extra three cents a mile in fuel costs, that will become a huge chunk of change over 10,000 miles.
So far, the program has had a lot of success, but Michelin hopes that using RFID chips will enable them to provide even better preventative maintenance, which will save fleets even more money.
As it currently stands, the Tire Care program does a lot of good for trucking companies. About one in five vehicles inspected have a ''red tag'' warning, meaning that there was some serious issue that needed immediate attention. A further sixty-three percent of vehicles had a ''yellow tag'' warning, which could lead to some long-term costs.
According to Ron Reid of Transervice Logistics, Michelin's Tire Care Program has reduced his fleet's emergency service calls by half. They used to get about five or six calls from the road each month; now it's no more than three. The savings are huge, adding up to about $2,000 a month.
Ensuring QualitySo how can Michelin make sure that their chips are working at all times? After all, the program only operates efficiently if each tire is transmitting without interference, so how do they combat that issue? Well, the company is working with Hana Microdisplay Technologies to test and retest each chip before it rolls out of the factory.
Each tag is rigorously tested to make sure that it can handle being embedded into the tire. Because it is encased in rubber, it has to have better integrity and transmitting power than a regular chip. Thus, not only are they tested before they are put into the tires, but checked afterward as well to see if there are any problems.
Fortunately, those who do not have these upgraded tires can still benefit from having this program. Michelin offers RFID tag stickers that can go on any other tire, even if it's not a Michelin brand.
The Future of Tire MaintenanceAlthough the technology is still being developed, Michelin hopes that it will improve their service systems drastically. By empowering fleet leaders to check on tires remotely through the cloud, a supervisor can notify a driver of a problem before it happens, thereby saving the cost of having a blowout or flat out on the road.
As the world becomes more connected, this type of program shows that we can optimize all kinds of industries by making them more comprehensive and integrated.
Administration describes a dash for a coronavirus vaccine that would be available in January - The Washington Post
Anthony S. Fauci, the United States' top infectious disease specialist, said the goal is production of hundreds of millions of doses by January, an effort dubbed ''Operation Warp Speed.''
''We want to go quickly, but we want to make sure it's safe and it's effective,'' he said on NBC's ''Today'' show. ''I think that is doable if things fall in the right place.''
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said manufacturers of the best potential vaccine candidates would ramp up production ''at risk,'' meaning before they are proven to work, in order to speed up the process.
Bloomberg News, which reported on the effort Wednesday, found taxpayers rather than drug companies would shoulder the financial risk of failed vaccine candidates. Though costly, this could result in one being available months earlier than under the typical process.
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The potential January date would be on the early end of the 12- to 18-month timeline that Fauci has repeatedly given for a vaccine.
President Trump said it is not too optimistic to try to produce roughly 300 million doses of vaccine in eight months, enough for the entire country.
''No, I'm not over-promising. I don't know who said it, but whatever the maximum is, whatever you can humanly do, we're going to have. And we hope we're going to come up with a good vaccine,'' the president said at the White House.
He added that ''we're going to fast-track it like you've never seen before, if we come up with a vaccine.''
Asked who is in charge of the effort, Trump said he is.
''I think probably, more than anything, I'm in charge. And I'm the one that gets blamed. And I get blamed anyway,'' Trump said.
''Don't forget, if we come up with a vaccine in record time, they'll say I should have done it faster. But we have a lot of good '-- a lot of good possibilities.''
The national stay-at-home guidance expired Thursday, but many states have left their own orders in place.
Protesters stormed the State Capitol in Michigan as the legislature debated extending coronavirus restrictions imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). Some waved guns outside the Capitol in Lansing, while others affiliated with the ''American Patriot Rally'' tried to get onto the House floor but were blocked by law enforcement. The rally was called to demand that businesses reopen.
Later in the day, Michigan's House decided against extending the emergency declaration.
Many U.S. states are relaxing their restrictions, with more than half set to be partially reopened by the end of this week, though others such as California are moving more cautiously.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Democrats intend to direct around $1 trillion to state and local governments in the next coronavirus spending bill.
Pelosi said states have $500 billion in needs, a figure cited by the National Governors Association, while municipalities and local governments have sought a similar amount. She said the money could be made available to spend over several years.
''I talked about almost $1 trillion right there,'' Pelosi said at a news conference, while adding that ''we do have other issues that we want to deal with'' in the next spending bill.
The $2 trillion Cares Act that Congress passed in late March included $150 billion for states, but the money was restricted to use for coronavirus response, which some governors and mayors have complained has made it difficult for them to tap to help their budgetary needs.
Trump appeared chilly to the massive new bailout Pelosi had previewed and to proposals for more direct support payments to individuals.
''Well, we're talking about that. I know a lot of people are talking about it. But we've given a lot of stimulus,'' Trump said during a White House meeting with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D).
Trump predicted a swift economic rebound in the second half of the year, beginning before the presidential election in November.
Trump said voters should judge his handling of the pandemic when deciding whether to reelect him just over six months from now. ''Sure. I think they do,'' Trump said. ''I think they have to do a number of things. They do have to do that.''
Trump said his administration's response has been ''spectacular,'' including the rapid production of ventilators.
The pandemic in the U.S.: tracking cases and deaths
Republicans are dramatically more likely than Democrats to say that they would be ready to return to normal day-by-day activities if there were no government social distancing restrictions, a new Gallup survey finds.
The survey finds that 44 percent of Republicans would return to normal ''right now'' if given the chance. That compares with just 4 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of independents who say the same.
The Republican figure has jumped 19 points since Gallup posed the same question earlier in April, a period that coincides with several governors in Republican-led states being more aggressive in easing social distancing restrictions.
Well-connected Trump alumni benefit from coronavirus lobbying
The economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic became clearer Thursday, with nearly 4 million new jobless claims and an estimate from a Trump administration economic adviser that about one in five Americans was out of a job in April.
The current virus-related recession has erased all job gains since the Great Recession more than a decade ago.
More than 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department, bringing the total number of claims to roughly 30 million in six weeks.
White House economist Kevin Hassett predicted that April unemployment would be about 19 percent, up from 4.4 percent in March. U.S. unemployment was about 25 percent at the peak of the Great Depression in 1933.
''Well, I think we're gonna have a great third quarter that's going to be a transition'' to a ''great'' fourth quarter, Trump said.
Many Americans have stopped paying their rent and other bills, and economists are predicting any recovery will stretch well into 2021, and possibly beyond.
Murphy, the New Jersey governor, said his hard-hit state is beginning to reopen parks and other recreation areas, but California is expected to close all beaches and state parks after thousands of people flocked to beaches last weekend in violation of the state's social distancing restrictions.
Iowa, Oklahoma and other states reopening soon amid the coronavirus outbreak are issuing early warnings to their worried workers: return to your jobs or risk losing unemployment benefits.
The threats have been loudest among Republican leaders in recent days.
Vice President Pence wore a face mask during a trip to Indiana on Thursday, after he was roundly criticized this week for not wearing a mask during a tour of the Mayo Clinic.
His wife, Karen Pence, said he did not know hospital policy required it until after he left the facility.
Her assertion during an appearance on ''Fox & Friends,'' appears to contradict statements from the clinic that the vice president's office had been informed of the rule before his Tuesday visit to the Minnesota hospital.
U.S. looks to punish China or demand payment over virus
The Trump campaign criticized a video published by Chinese state news agency Xinhua that mocked the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus, dubbing the video a ''brazen'' attempt to cover up Chinese lies.
The video, published overnight, portrays a conversation between China and the United States about the coronavirus, with both countries represented by Lego toy characters.
''We are always correct, even though we contradict ourselves,'' the U.S. side says toward the end of the video.
''That's what I love best about you Americans '-- your consistency,'' the Chinese side responds.
Spain, one of the European countries hit hardest by the pandemic, reported a 5.2 percent drop in gross domestic product for the first quarter, its largest plunge in more than a century. Across the European Union, however, new unemployment figures showed only slight job losses, as government stimulus programs protected employment.
As some nations look toward easing restrictions, Japan is expected to extend its state of emergency by a month. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, reimposed a 24-hour lockdown after infections jumped amid eased restrictions.
Britain is on track to surpass Italy as the worst-hit country in Europe after deaths outside hospitals are included, raising the toll to 26,000, just shy of Italy's 27,000 dead. The U.S. death toll has passed 62,000.
John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, Mike DeBonis, Brittany Shammas, Rachel Siegel and Andrew Van Dam contributed.
As Biden struggles, Hillary waits for the call | TheHill
Hillary Clinton continues to hover in the wings, ready to step forward should Joe Biden fail.
Don't look now, but Joe is failing. Not only has his campaign been rocked by sexual assault allegations from one-time staffer Tara Reade, but the public is beginning to give up on the former vice president. A new Emerson College poll showed 57 percent of likely voters think President Trump will win reelection in November.
Remember, Establishment Democrats put forward Uncle Joe because he was the "safe" candidate, bound to defeat Trump. Oops.
That's not the only problem that crops up in the Emerson Poll. It also shows Trump supporters 19 points more enthusiastic about their candidate than Biden supporters. That "enthusiasm gap" will drive turnout this fall. With Democrats dependent on young people and minorities, both typically less reliable voters, that lack of excitement for the candidate could be a big problem.
Also less than gung-ho about Biden is, predictably, Bernie Sanders's army. Though the Vermont socialist has endorsed Biden, 51 percent of Bernie supporters are, according to Emerson, open to voting for a third-party candidate.
Another red flag is Biden's tepid fund-raising; according to the New York Times, Trump has a monster cash advantage of $187 million. Further, in swing-state polling, the presumptive Democratic nominee is running behind where Hillary Clinton stood at this point in the race, and we know how that turned out.
As all of those issues cast doubt on Biden's prospects, the presumptive nominee must now fend off Tara Reade's allegations, which put #MeToo-supporting Democrats into an incredibly awkward spot.
None of this augurs well for the Biden campaign, which will likely confront further obstacles in the months ahead. Eventually, the coronavirus will no longer excuse the former VP's invisibility; he will have to engage in the kind of give-and-take that often shows him getting befuddled, including real - not scripted - town halls and interviews.
At that point, the public will see what numerous Democrats have noted sotto voce - Obama's former wing-man is struggling with some cognitive decline.
We really cannot elect a president who mixes up his sister with his wife or who collapses in mid-sentence, unsure of where he's going next.
Democrats' obstacle to pushing Biden aside is Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator was the runner-up in the primaries, and continues to hold onto his delegates. Democratic leaders do not want to see Sanders resurgent; they are convinced he is unelectable. But they also know that if they move to replace Biden at the top of the ticket, and don't elevate Sanders, the Bernie Bros would revolt.
Indeed, it seems clear that party officials are so worried Sanders might stage another run that they cancelled the 224-delegate rich New York State primary. They claimed the vote would have been dangerous in that epicenter of COVID-19, but since they still plan to host a primary for state and local officials, that excuse seems weak.
As the primaries roll forward, and especially with officials' thumbs on the scales, Biden will almost certainly win the candidacy. In the absence of a brokered convention, how could Democrats replace their standard-bearer?
One idea has been to convince Biden to step aside in favor of the very popular Michelle Obama, seen as a sure bet to beat Trump. So far, though, the former first lady has reportedly rebuffed all invitations to enter the fray.
That leaves Hillary Clinton. Biden could choose Clinton as his running mate, and then step down before the election and allow Hillary to run in his place.
Clinton is the only VP candidate who would be able to pull off such a last-minute switch. She has the team, the resources and the experience to be the nominee; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) do not.
Clinton is ready and eager. She is desperate to avenge her 2016 loss (which she still blames on Putin) and has pumped up her public profile to keep herself in consideration. In past months she has conducted endless interviews, promoted the uber-flattering four-part Hulu film about herself, made headlines by attacking Bernie Sanders and Mark Zuckerberg, and fired unending broadsides against President Trump.
Most recently, she joined Vice President Biden in a town hall devoted to women's issues, during which she effusively endorsed her long-time colleague. She reminisced about their time together in the Obama administration, talked about their mutual love of Scranton, Pa., where her father grew up, and recalled meetings in the Situation Room.
In fact, Clinton talked so much about their shared history that it was easy to forget that she was endorsing Joe Biden. It almost sounded as though she were touting her own resume instead.
Maybe she was.
How would Hillary stack up as a nominee this time around? Hillary certainly looks stronger and more fired-up than Biden; she has the energy he lacks. She has a bigger following on social media (28 million Twitter followers, compared to 5 million, for instance) and she has a large devoted following who, like Hillary, still cannot believe she lost in 2016.
She could count on President Obama to campaign for her, as Biden also can, and she would also have ever-popular husband Bill helping out. In 2016, Democrats were not wildly excited about her candidacy, but her "enthusiasm" readings were better than Biden's today. As was her polling in critical battleground states.
Hillary is hideously polarizing, but she would be a more forceful nominee than Biden, has enormous name recognition and, perhaps most important, can begin and end a sentence without major detours. And, she has not been credibly accused of sexual assault.
Hillary may be Democrats' nominee of last resort. You know she wants it.
Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.
Experts identify two strains of coronavirus in the U.S. | One America News Network
This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML via AP)
OAN NewsroomUPDATED 2:15 PM PT '-- Sunday, April 26, 2020According to experts, two different strains of coronavirus came to the U.S. on both sides of the country. Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently announced COVID-19 cases in California probably came from China before travel restrictions were put in place.
He added cases seen on the East Coast seem to have originated from Europe, especially Italy.
This came after China recently claimed it has identified 30 different strains of coronavirus.
''There's no reason, at this time, to believe that the different strains have different infectivity, different virulents, that one is more dangerous than the other,'' emphasized Dr. Gottlieb. ''But that's something that's being looked at right now by people who are sequencing these strains.''
The doctor reiterated experts will compare the strains to see if one has worse outcomes or is infecting people at higher rates. Gottlieb previously noted if China had been more transparent about the virus earlier in the outbreak, it could have made a difference in testing capabilities.
FILE '' In this Tuesday, April 14, 2020 file photo, a woman holds her hand out to have blood collected for a 15-minute test for COVID-19 coronavirus antibodies at a drive thru site in Hempstead, N.Y. Antibodies are the markers of infections that someone already had. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
On Saturday, the CDC announced six new coronavirus symptoms. The agency added chills or shivers, muscle pain, headaches, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell to the list of possible symptoms of COVID-19.
Previously only fever, cough and shortness of breath were recognized as official symptoms. The institute has suggested anyone experiencing these symptoms should immediately seek medical attention.
According to latest data from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 2.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide. As of Sunday, more than 205,000 people have died, while over 860,000 have recovered.
Lockdowns remain in place around the world as countries continue to try and flatten the curve.
Experts have said three potential vaccines are going through human trials. However, they expect it could take upwards of a year and a half for one to be proven viable and become widely available.
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