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Signs of the Times: The World for People who Think. Featuring independent, unbiased, alternative news and commentary on world events.
  1. Several Democrats who have insisted on strict stay-at-home orders — including the wearing of face masks when out of doors — have been caught violating the rules that they wish to impose on others for fear of spreading the coronavirus. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who has suggested he might make wearing face masks mandatory, was spotted on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach on Saturday — without a mask. The Daily Beast quoted a spokesperson for the governor, who tried to help him save face: Alena Yarmosky, a spokeswoman for the Democratic governor — a physician who has repeatedly urged Virginians to wear face coverings in public — said he was "outside yesterday and not expecting to be within six feet of anyone. This is an important reminder to always have face coverings in case situations change," adding, "we are all learning how to operate in this new normal, and it's important to be prepared." However, the governor was pictured taking selfies with beachgoers — at far closer range...
  2. Have you ever seen a sprite? Some say it's impossible. The strange and fleeting forms of red lightning materialize above thunderheads, usually disappearing again in less time than it takes to blink. Yet storm chaser Michael Gavan had no trouble seeing these on May 23rd. "Extremely bright 'jellyfish' sprites were easily visible naked-eye through evening twilight!"says Gavin. "This is a framegrab of the brightest one I managed to capture with my astrophotography-modified Canon T3i." Gavin saw the display from northwestern Kansas. "Clear skies to the northwest afforded fantastic views of an MCS (Mesoscale convective system) moving through the Nebraska panhandle," he says. Over the weekend, a low pressure system got stuck in the area, producing ferocious electrical storms with abundant lightning and sprites.
  3. An Ohio judge deemed the state's lockdown in response to the Chinese coronavirus illegal, and stated that the state's top health director "acted in an impermissibly arbitrary, unreasonable, and oppressive manner." Lake County Common Pleas Judge Eugene Lucci ruled that Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, is prohibited from punishing nonessential businesses that defy Ohio's orders to stay closed in response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, Cleveland 19 News reported. The report added that the Lake County General Health District, police officers, prosecutors, and the Ohio Attorney General are also prohibited from punishing so-called "nonessential" businesses, as the companies already operate in compliance with standard safety regulations. Moreover, Lucci declared that Acton "has acted in an impermissibly arbitrary, unreasonable, and oppressive manner," reported the Columbus Dispatch.
  4. The key takeaways of the Two Sessions of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing are already in the public domain. In a nutshell: no GDP target for 2020; a budget deficit of at least 3.6% of GDP; one trillion yuan in special treasury bonds; corporate fees/taxes cut by 2.5 trillion yuan; a defense budget rise of a modest 6.6%; and governments at all levels committed to "tighten their belts." The focus, as predicted, is to get China's domestic economy, post-Covid-19, on track for solid growth in 2021. Also predictably, the whole focus in the Anglo-American sphere has been on Hong Kong - as in the new legal framework, to be approved next week, engineered to prevent subversion, foreign interference "or any acts that severely endanger national security." After all, as a Global Times editorial stresses, Hong Kong is an extremely sensitive national security matter. This is a direct result of what the Chinese observer mission based in Shenzhen learned from the attempt by assorted...
  5. Western Australia was hit by its worst storm in a decade on Sunday, leaving about 50,000 homes and businesses without power as the weather bureau recorded wind of up to 130kph. Up to 100 millimetres of rain is expected to fall along the west coast, while tides are predicted to swell before reaching a peak of 8 metres on Monday. The storm was caused by the remnants of a tropical cyclone meeting a cold front, and emergency services have warned of flooding and dangerous seas. Officials said conditions were expected to worsen overnight as the severe storm progressed.
  6. Popular for-profit genealogy company Ancestry.com has revoked the family heritage of any African American who says they would not vote for Joe Biden. The company said they made the changes to reflect prevailing social beliefs about race and culture. "It used to be if your ancestors were from Africa and your skin was a darker pigment, then you were considered black," said Ancestry spokesperson Sheila Reinold. "Times have changed. What really determines a person's blackness now — beyond genes, DNA, family trees — is Joe Biden. Any other determiner of race is pure malarkey at this point." A frustrated Ancestry.com customer, Brian Jennings of Log Ridge, Kentucky says he logged in to find his account had been wiped clean and years of ancestral research had been deleted all because he said in a recent Facebook post that he didn't think he could bring himself to vote for "some 80-year old, white, dementia-riddled uncle creepy" for president. Reinold says that Ancestry is not abandoning...
  7. You take rehab.com — our website traffic is up 382 percent in the past 30 days with people looking for treatment for either substance abuse or mental health.' This is a "pandemic within a pandemic," according to addiction expert Tim Ryan, who's watched the coronavirus outbreak exacerbate the preexistent opioid and mental health crises with devastating effect. Ryan, the star of A&E's 2017 "Dope Man" special, is the founder of "A Man In Recovery Foundation," which partners with Rehab.com. A former heroin addict, his mission is to assist others struggling with substance abuse. In a Friday interview, Ryan explained how the stresses of isolation and financial trouble brought on by the pandemic are worsening addiction, both by pushing new users to abuse substances and making it more difficult for recovering addicts to stay sober. Rehab facilities are struggling to cope with the challenges of a viral outbreak, according to Ryan, who also said alcohol and fentanyl abuse seem to be...
  8. Brexit has given Boris Johnson a golden opportunity to separate Northern Ireland from Britain. Border checks on goods and pets are the first steps in BoJo's mission to dump Ulster for good. It's easy to smell a rat when even the iconic British Bulldog needs a pet passport to get into Northern Ireland. Boris Johnson has a nasty habit of words coming back to bite him - as was evident this week when he, once again, shafted the good folks of Northern Ireland. He once very clearly said, "There will be no checks on goods from GB to Northern Ireland or Northern Ireland to GB." Of course, it has now been announced that as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement there will be "new checks on goods entering NI from GB," as one BBC headline put it.
  9. An aerial search in the Peruvian desert has revealed intriguing figures of humans and animals that predate the nearby Unesco world heritage site A faded decades-old black-and-white photograph was the only lead Johny Isla had when he set out on the trail of a sea monster. The Peruvian archaeologist spotted the image at a 2014 exhibition in Germany about the Nazca Lines, the vast and intricate desert images which attract tens of thousands of tourists every year. The photograph taken in the early 1970s showed a mysterious killer whale deity carved in an arid hillside. The figure bore some resemblance to others he knew but he had never seen this one before.
  10. Archaeologists have found the bones of about 60 mammoths at an airport under construction just north of Mexico City, near human-built "traps" where more than a dozen mammoths were found last year. Both discoveries reveal how appealing the area - once a shallow lake - was for the mammoths, and how erroneous was the classic vision of groups of fur-clad hunters with spears chasing mammoths across a plain. For the moment, however, Mexican archaeologists are facing a surfeit of mammoths, almost too many to ever excavate. "There are too many, there are hundreds," said archaeologist Pedro Sánchez Nava, of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
  11. Over 10,000 doctors have signed an open letter calling on all children to return to school and be allowed to play without following social-distancing rules. "Children are at risk of becoming the main victims of the corona measures, while they themselves are the least at risk," a collective of 16,000 doctors wrote, Het Nieuwsblad reports. Confinement and social-distancing rules are disproportionate to the risk that the virus poses to children, Dr Livia De Picker, one of the signatories, told the outlet. "The obligation to keep their distance is the big problem, both in and outside education, while the rule is not proportional to the risk of infection that children have," De Picker said, adding that enforcement of the rules by staff caused unnecessary stress and fears in kids.
  12. Ever get the feeling you've been cheated? Boris Johnson has previously lauded the effort and sacrifice of the British people, who for nine weeks of lockdown have endured not only inconvenience and discomfort, but hardship and in many cases real sacrifice: of desperately needed income, of the opportunity to support struggling relatives, see dying family members, or attend the funerals of loved ones. Now it emerges that the rules are optional for the prime minister's friends. The stated message was: "Stay at home". The unstated: "Do as we say, and not as we do". The breach of rules by Mr Johnson's adviser Dominic Cummings, revealed by the Guardian and the Mirror, is not an abstruse Westminster affair involving complicated financial dealings, or arcane parliamentary regulations. It is a matter that everyone understands and in which everyone has a stake, because everyone has given up something they valued and many have paid dearly. People feel not just indignation, but rage.
  13. The Trump administration announced a counternarcotics operation in early April, choking off the drug supply chain flowing from Latin America, and now law enforcement officials are choking off drug cartels' cash flow in the U.S. "It's really around April, where we started saying, 'Hey, we're having a lot more success in this area,'" New York Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge Ray Donovan told NBC News. "With all the stores and shops closed down here, they don't have that as one of the means to quickly launder money." With businesses shutdown in the major coastal cities where drug trade had boomed, laundering money through other business transactions have been made more difficult for the smugglers, leaving piles of cash easier for law enforcement to home in on, officials told NBC News.
  14. A University of Minnesota Law School professor, Francesco Parisi, has won a nearly $1.2 million defamation case against a woman who had falsely accused him of rape. In his blistering ruling on Tuesday, Hennepin County Judge Daniel Moreno wrote that Parisi's former lover, Morgan Wright, had pursued an "untruthful narrative crusade," and her "accusations were false, and made with malice." It is believed to be the largest defamation judgement in Minnesota. The vast majority of the judgement, $814,514 is for economic losses, as well as reputational and emotional damages. Only $100,000 was for punitive damages. Parisi walked out of jail three years ago, his life in shambles.
  15. A four alarm fire erupted on San Francisco's iconic Fisherman's Wharf early Saturday morning, CBS San Francisco reports. The blaze started at a warehouse that contained a large fish processing operation on Pier 45. More than 100 firefighters responded to towering flames around 4 a.m. local time. Flames began to spread underneath the pier, and the structure began to collapse. Firefighters took a defensive approach, shutting down streets around the waterfront neighborhood. CBS San Francisco reports the fire could be seen for miles, and a large plume of smoke covered much of the Bay. San Francisco Fire spokesman Jonathan Baxter reported around 6:30 a.m. local time that the fire was "still active and four-alarm status," according to the department's public updates.
  16. In Ocean City, Maryland, the lifeguards were in the stands for the first time this season, the sun was out and if you were lucky enough, you could catch a wave. For Chris Sexton from Baltimore, it was heaven. "Hallelujah! I would think there would not be that many people, but it was more than I expected," he said. His family enjoyed the ease of this Memorial Day weekend trip. "We got here really quick. No traffic. We went right through," Amber Sexton said.
  17. President Trump could pull off a reelection victory in 2020, so Democrats should not get overly confident about a Joe Biden victory, despite criticism about Trump's response to the coronavirus outbreak, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore warned Friday. Trump is "going to do well" in November because he hasn't lost "any of his support," Moore said during an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher." "None of us should take him for granted," Moore told Maher, referring to Trump.
  18. Kate Maehr has never seen anything like it: lines stretching for blocks as people, many with children, inch forward to get boxes of food they hope will last until the next giveaway, until the next paycheck or until they can get government food assistance. "It's just heartbreaking," said Maehr, executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. "They're finding themselves in a set of circumstances where they have no income and they also have no food, and it happened in an instant." The number of people seeking help from her organization and affiliated food pantries has surged 60% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down the nation's economy and thrown tens of millions of people out of work. Across the country, worries about having enough to eat are adding to the anxiety of millions of people, according to a survey that found 37% of unemployed Americans ran out of food in the past month and 46% said they worried about running out.
  19. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word "Anti-vaxxer"? Do you conjure an image of a moron, so ignorant of science, that they are not worth arguing with? Well, guess what? That is precisely what that epithet is meant to do. It is meant to derail and avoid an intelligent discussion before it even starts. While a handful of people may actually be completely anti-vaccine, most of the people lumped in this category are not. They are decent, reasonable people with legitimate concerns. But by calling anyone with even the mildest questions about even a single vaccine an "anti-vaxxer," the media (and politicians) get to avoid any and all discussions of the subject. This is a very clever technique that shields, in this case, Big Pharma from challenge. The liberal media and politicians engage in this strategy to silence opposing viewpoints.
  20. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conflating the results of two different types of coronavirus tests, distorting several important metrics and providing the country with an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic. We've learned that the CDC is making, at best, a debilitating mistake: combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus. The upshot is that the government's disease-fighting agency is overstating the country's ability to test people who are sick with COVID-19. The agency confirmed to The Atlantic on Wednesday that it is mixing the results of viral and antibody tests, even though the two tests reveal different information and are used for different reasons. This is not merely a technical error. States have set quantitative guidelines for reopening their economies based on these flawed data points. Several states — including Pennsylvania, the site of one of the...
  21. A downpour across the entire Ukrainian territory may last for almost the entire week. It started snowing in the Carpathian Mountains on Sunday, May 24. As of 13:15 on May 24, the air temperature on Mount Pip Ivan of Chornohora was +2 °C, the southwest wind was 7 meters per second; it was snowing," the Chornohirsky mountain search and rescue post said on Facebook on May 24.
  22. The Limni Lake Natural Park, located in Turkey's Eastern Black Sea region, was covered with 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) of snow this week, giving visitors the unique opportunity to enjoy the beautiful winter scenery one last time as the summer months approach. Surrounded by pine and spruce trees, the park offers a pleasant view of the snow-covered mountain. Located 45 kilometers (27.9 miles) from Gümüşhane's city center, Lake Limni is situated on the foothills of Mount Zigana.
  23. Several inches of snow fell in Idaho Falls, Idaho, on Saturday, May 23, with preliminary totals indicating a record for springtime snowfall in the area, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS said preliminary totals showed two to four inches of snow accumulated in the city, which would it the most snow recorded "this late in spring" since the area's weather records began in 1948. This video shows snow falling in Idaho Falls around 11.30 am on Saturday. Credit: @taylordevin1 via Storyful
  24. Scientists found something peculiar coming from the center of the Milky Way galaxy: a previously-undiscovered signal they think is coming from the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy. The team of Keio University researchers think that the signal is caused when the accretion disk around the black hole flares up and give off extremely rapidly-rotating radio spots, according to research published last month in The Astrophysical Journal Letters — a glimpse at the unimaginable chaos at the core of our galaxy. The flickering signals aren't entirely new — scientists have previously discovered larger and slower flare ups. But thanks to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), now scientists can detect more minute emanations than ever before.
  25. Yoram Lass, former director of Israel's Health Ministry, on the hysteria around Covid-19. Countries across the world have been in lockdown for months in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The costs of the policy are enormous - in terms of life, liberty and the economy. But is it worth it to save lives? Yoram Lass was once the director-general of Israel's Ministry of Health. Lass is a staunch critic of the lockdown policy adopted in his native Israel and around the world. He has described our response to Covid-19 as a form of hysteria. spiked caught up with him to find out more.
  26. As Solzhenitsyn pointed out in his classic book, The Gulag Archipelago, creating a nightmare of evil is easy if you can convince people they are laboring on behalf of heaven on earth. Then they will do unimaginable things. Like the things happening right now. And more to come. Sickness Psychosis is being sold as a virtue - and the corollary is that it's not virtuous to question it. This will inevitably devolve into something much more ominous. After all, people are dying! Do you want people to get sick? People who don't wear Fear Masks and refuse to pretend these are "necessary" are already being painted as selfish and uncaring. They will be painted as evil and then criminal people. And what happens then? Does it need elaboration? This is all so obvious to a thinking brain. Not a genius brain. Just one capable of following the inexorable logic of things. That principles matter - and that surrendering them for expedience or any other reason is lethal. But this ability to follow the...
  27. Australian researchers say they have successfully tested and recorded the world's fastest internet speed from a single optical chip. In a paper in the journal Nature Communications, they report achieving a data speed of 44.2 Terabits per second (Tbps) from a single light source - enough to download a thousand high-definition movies in a split second. And they did it not in a lab but using existing communications infrastructure. "We've developed something that is scalable to meet future needs," says co-lead author Bill Corcoran from Monash University. "And it's not just Netflix we're talking about here: it's the broader scale of what we use our communication networks for." The project was a collaboration between Monash and two other Melbourne-based universities - Swinburne and RMIT - and utilised an optical device known as a micro-comb, which was added to 76.6 kilometres of optical fibres installed between two city campuses.
  28. There can be no doubt that Bill Gates has worn many hats on his remarkable journey from his early life as the privileged son of a Seattle-area power couple to his current status as one of the richest and most influential people on the planet. But, as we have seen in our exploration of Gates' rise as unelected global health czar and population control advocate, the question of who Bill Gates really is is no mere philosophical pursuit. Today we will attempt to answer that question as we examine the motives, the ideology, and the connections of this man who has been so instrumental in shaping the post-coronavirus world. For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode. For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).
  29. An indepth look at the recent coronavirus-related political and social developments in Russia by a regular SouthFront reader from Moscow. Implementing President Putin's directives, Russian federal authorities intensified their efforts to contain both the economic and social impact of the nation-wide coronavirus lockdown, and also some local authorities' overzealous efforts. This move was impatiently awaited by the Russian society for a month. It became clear in May that something went wrong in Russia. While in March one could still speak of insufficient medical statistics, of contradictory scientific findings, by now the SARS-COV-v2 situation has become clear. Due to a variety of reasons, in March and April the world had to cope not so much with the spread of the virus, but rather a pandemic of fear and other processes which might collectively be called "coronacrisis". One can thus identify three main challenges for humanity today: The coronavirus epidemic as such; The global...
  30. Many lies have been told about this virus. These are just the top 12 we have selected.
  31. With the US economy reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed to give Israel a minimum of $3.8 billion in military aid per year. A full vote on the gift is expected soon. The US unemployment rate now stands at 14.7 percent, the worst figure since records began. Nearly 39 million Americans have lost their jobs since the coronavirus reached US shores in late January, and the Congressional Budget Office warned on Tuesday that the US economy won't recover from its current contraction until after next year. Moreover, the federal government's financial relief packages to date have pushed national debt past a record $25 trillion. You wouldn't think there was anything wrong if you asked Senator Marco Rubio though. The Florida Republican and his colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee quietly approved a bill on Thursday to guarantee Israel a minimum of $38 billion in military aid over the next ten years, despite the...
  32. Google is now applying its controversial coronavirus misinformation policies to users' personal files. Ever since Big Tech platforms started cracking down on what they deem to be coronavirus misinformation, the media has been willfully flagging alleged violations to social media companies and getting content taken down. And now the file storage and sharing service Google Drive has started to take down users' files in response to media complaints about them containing coronavirus misinformation. In an article reporting on the takedown, The Washington Post's Silicon Valley Correspondent Elizabeth Dwoskin complains that after the coronavirus documentary Plandemic was censored on social media, some YouTube clips were telling users how to access "banned footage" from the documentary via Google Drive. She then notes that after The Washington Post contacted Google, Google Drive took down a file featuring the trailer for the Plandemic documentary.
  33. Self-awareness seems to have become the latest management buzzword — and for good reason. Research suggests that when we see ourselves clearly, we are more confident and more creative. We make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. We're less likely to lie, cheat, and steal. We are better workers who get more promotions. And we're more-effective leaders with more-satisfied employees and more-profitable companies. As an organizational psychologist and executive coach, I've had a ringside seat to the power of leadership self-awareness for 15 years. I've also seen how attainable this skill is. Yet, when I first began to delve into the research on self-awareness, I was surprised by the striking gap between the science and the practice of self-awareness. All things considered, we knew surprisingly little about improving this critical skill. A few years ago, my team of researchers and I embarked on a large-scale scientific study of...
  34. Memorial Day weekend brought the largest protest against the statewide shutdown at the Capitol so far. The crowd of people gathered on 10th Street for what organizers called "Liberty Fest." The protesters want California to follow the lead of other states that have reopened businesses and ease social distancing restrictions. Honking pickup trucks circled the Capitol as a plane flew overhead, pulling a sign with the message: 'End His Tyranny!' aimed at Gov. Gavin Newsom.
  35. France should postpone its planned auction of 5G frequencies to late 2020 or early 2021 because of uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus crisis, the head of one of France's top conglomerates said on Saturday. In February, French telecoms regulator Arcep had said it was hoping to award the 5G licences by June, but after France went into virus lockdown mid-March, Arcep postponed the sale and said a new date would depend on the progression of the health crisis. "We need to push back the auction date simply because the economic world today is not the same as it was early March, when the terms of the auction were set," Martin Bouygues, CEO of Bouygues Telecom's parent company, said in the French daily Le Figaro. Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR had already submitted tender package for some frequencies in February. "It is true that telecoms operators have escaped the crisis relatively unscathed, but is it reasonable to think they can buy frequencies for which the price...
  36. Two samples taken from the same patient are being recorded as two separate tests in the Government's official figures. Tens of thousands of Covid-19 tests have been double-counted in the Government's official tally, public health officials have admitted. Diagnostic tests which involve taking saliva and nasal samples from the same patient are being counted as two tests, not one. The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England each confirmed the double-counting. This inflates the daily reported diagnostic test numbers by over 20 per cent, with that proportion being much higher earlier on in the crisis before home test kits were added to the daily totals. Almost 350,000 more tests have been reported in Government data than people tested since the start of the pandemic. The discrepancy is in large part explained by the practice of counting salvia and nasal samples for the same individual twice.
  37. Russophobic liberals are in meltdown after the US's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tweeted information about how to get the Economic Impact Payment in Russian, just like it's done for all major world languages. It seems the mere sight of Cyrillic is enough to send Russiagate true believers into a tailspin. The innocuous tweet from the official IRS account, which was about a new tool to help people apply for the stimulus payment, unleashed an utterly dumbfounding stream of mind-meltingly stupid conspiracy theories. Among the deranged replies were numerous xenophobic questions asking why the message was in Russian, jokes about US President Donald Trump outsourcing the IRS to Russian mobsters, and absurd claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin is running the US government "through encrypted communications."
  38. In her ongoing audition to be Joe Biden's veep pick, Michigan Governess Gretchen Whitmer all but convicted a private dam owner for the disastrous floods that struck the middle of the state last Wednesday. However, it wasn't the dam company that was trying to save a few clams — it was Whitmer's radical attorney general, Dana Nessel. Nessel was suing the dam company to raise the lake level three feet in order to save mussels — both endangered and common — and in their response, the dam company cited safety as a reason for not doing so. But to Dana Nessel, who is also suing to keep Michigan's chilly Upper Peninsula from having a reliable source of propane, citing an imaginary concern over a pipeline across the Straits of Mackinac, people come second. A distant second.
  39. The San Antonio class landing platform dock USS Portland has successfully knocked down a small drone using its new laser directed energy weapon. The ship was first spotted with the system installed as it left its homeport in San Diego California in December 2019, which The War Zone was first to report. The U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet announced the test of Portland's laser weapon, which is formally known as the Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) Mk 2 Mod 0, on May 22, 2020. The test itself took place on May 16 at an unspecified location in the Pacific Ocean. The service described the event as "the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser," but did not say if this was the first time that the ship has actually fired the weapon.
  40. More than 1,000 residents in the area of Porters Lake, N.S. are being asked to leave their homes Saturday as crews work to contain a large fire in the area. At least 10 trucks from Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency (HRFE) have responded to the scene of the brush fire which was first reported at approximately 12:30 p.m. AT. HRFE assistant chief Nadya-Lyse Paré said that a resident on their quad was the first to spot the fire and report it to officials.
  41. Scores of revellers poured on the streets of Siberia's largest city Novosibirsk at the weekend to let off some steam during the coronavirus pandemic - but the flash dance party did not go unnoticed by local media and the police. The city of 1.6 million has restricted large gatherings as part of measures to combat Covid-19, but that didn't stop an estimated (by media) 300 people from rocking out on Saturday night. In a video of the unsanctioned event, a crowd of largely young people is seen dancing and mingling with one another, as music pounds in the background. Judging by the photographic evidence, conga lines and other activities that don't mesh particularly well with social distancing rules dominated the evening.
  42. We covered in our third of these brief articles that, actually, the Coronavirus is NOT "20x deadlier" than the flu. That was evident once the early large-scale studies had been done in Germany, Iceland and South Korea. It has only become more so in the weeks since. Far from the 3.4% predicted by the WHO back February, or the 1% used by the Imperial Model, all the serological studies done to this point average out at about 0.2%. Here are some recent examples: On May 19th Dr John Ioannidis et al published their review of global cases, which found lethality ranging between 0.02% and 0.4%. On May 4th Dr Hendrilk Streeck et al published a study done in Germany which found an infection fatality rate (IFR) of <0.36%. Another study from Stanford University, published on April 30th and this time focusing on Santa Clara county, found an IFR of 0.17% A study done in the Guilan province of Iran, published on May 1st, found an IFR of 0.12%. On April 21st, theUniversity of Southern California...
  43. Police have deployed water cannons to break up a sparse crowd demonstrating against a sanctioned anti-lockdown rally in Hamburg, Germany, that saw dozens turn out while minding social distancing rules. Police had to intervene after a small group of about 120 counter-protesters, many of them clad in black hoodies, repeatedly ignored police requests to stay clear of the 'Vigil for the Basic Law' rally against the lockdown measures on Saturday. The counter-demonstrators, who showed up unannounced, lacking any permission from the authorities, argued that the anti-lockdown rally attracted many right-wing extremists. "Against conspiracy fantasies, anti-semites and the right-wing agenda," one of the posters read.
  44. The University of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine trial has only a 50% chance of success as the coronavirus seems to be fading rapidly in Britain, the professor co-leading the development of the vaccine told the Telegraph newspaper. Adrian Hill, director of Oxford's Jenner Institute, which has teamed up with drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to develop the vaccine, said that an upcoming trial, involving 10,000 volunteers, threatened to return "no result" due to low transmission of COVID-19 in the community. "It's a race against the virus disappearing, and against time", Hill told the British newspaper. "At the moment, there's a 50% chance that we get no result at all." The experimental vaccine, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is one of the front-runners in the global race to provide protection against the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic. Hill's team began early-stage human trials of the vaccine in April, making it one of only a handful to have reached that milestone.
  45. Earlier this year, the company No Evil Foods, which sells a variety of socialist-themed vegan meats, fought a union drive at its Weaverville, North Carolina plant that included numerous "captive audience" meetings where management told workers to vote against a union. Motherboard obtained a 23-minute video of No Evil Food's CEO and co-founder Mike Woliansky repeatedly imploring workers to vote "no" in the union election, and telling workers that a union could hamper the company's ability to "save lives" and "change the world." In his speech, Woliansky compared joining the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, which represents tens of thousands of meatpacking workers in the US, to "hitching your wagon to a huge organization with high paid executives and a history of scandal and supporting slaughterhouses," he said. "I don't think that's an organization you want to support with your dues money."
  46. Israel's prime minister is set to arrive at the Jerusalem District Court later today amid tightened security and mass demonstrations in favour of and against the PM, who is accused of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in a series of graft probes that include buying positive news coverage and receiving illegal gifts from a rich donor. East Jerusalem will see heavy traffic and tightened security later today as the city prepares for the opening of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trial, who will now become not only the country's longest serving but also the first sitting PM to go before a tribunal. Citing an unwillingness to breach regulations imposed by Israel's Ministry of Health banning crowds in enclosed spaces, Netanyahu tried to skip his first hearing but the High Court decided his presence was "necessary", ruling that only a few people would be let inside the courtroom. The trial, previously scheduled for mid-March, was postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and...
  47. Berlin should pile pressure on Moscow instead of criticizing America's withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty, a US envoy told the German foreign minister, as the two NATO allies clashed over Washington's move to ditch the accord. The US announced its intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty (OST) earlier this week, unnerving its NATO allies in Europe. Among those calling for the preservation of the 2002 multilateral deal, which allows for surveillance flights over the territories of its signatories, was German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Germany's top diplomat sounded the alarm that the looming US withdrawal would "significantly reduce" the scope of the treaty, adding that Berlin would "work intensively" with "like-minded partners" to talk the US out of leaving the treaty in the following six months. The rhetoric from the European powerhouse did not sit well with the US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who has courted controversy in the past over his repeated...
  48. The vessel has arrived in Venezuelan waters, carrying 1.53 million barrels of gasoline, to help alleviate fuel shortages in the former oil-exporting nation. Tehran had warned of "consequences" if the US stopped the ship. The first of five Iranian oil tankers reached Venezuelan waters late on Saturday to temporarily ease the South American nation's fuel crunch, despite a warning from the US. The oil tanker Fortune entered Venezuela's exclusive economic zone at around 7.40 pm local time on Saturday (Sunday 0140 UTC), without facing any immediate signs of obstruction from the US. Government officials celebrated the arrival as the tanker sailed through the Caribbean waters towards the Venezuelan coast.
  49. Police fired multiple rounds of tear gas in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay shopping district on Sunday as thousands took to the streets to protest against Beijing's planned national security law for the city, even as top Chinese officials sought to ease fears about its impact on local freedoms but remained stern about seeing it implemented. Police said at least 180 people were arrested - mostly on suspicion of unauthorised assembly, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct in a public place - in a crackdown as protesters spread out along streets of Causeway Bay and Wan Chai. A water cannon truck was used and volleys of tear gas were fired in a series of confrontations as some radicals among the protesters defying the government's coronavirus crowd restrictions blocked multiple roads, smashed traffic lights, lit small fires and hurled bricks dug up from pavements at police. Some also vandalised shops, while at least two people objecting to the roadblocks were severely assaulted by...
  50. There is one very select group of Americans that have become significantly wealthier thanks to the COVID-19 virus. While tens of millions of American workers are no longer working thanks to the shuttering of the economy, the Institute for Policy Studies found that five American billionaires have seen their wealth increase by staggering amounts. Let's start by looking at the growth in the number of unemployed Main Street Americans: As you can see, the unemployment level in the United States has reached levels that have never been seen during any prior crisis. Over the eight week period between March 18, 2020 and May 14, 2020, over 36 million American workers lost their jobs.