Archive | July 25th, 2020

What the Corporate Media Isn’t Telling You About the Risks of Reopening

Putting worker safety and public health first means picking and choosing carefully, not just which activities are the safest, but which are the most urgent for a functioning society—which, it bears emphasizing, is not the same thing as what’s best for businesses’ bottom lines.

by: Neil deMause

Activists hold signs and protest the California lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on May 01, 2020 in San Diego, California. The protesters demands included opening small businesses, churches as well as support for President Trump. (Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Activists hold signs and protest the California lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on May 01, 2020 in San Diego, California. The protesters demands included opening small businesses, churches as well as support for President Trump. (Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

In the second half of June, the story of the United States’ coronavirus pandemic began to shift dramatically, as a massive surge in new infections took hold, particularly across states in the South and West that had previously been spared the worst of the outbreak. Media reports abruptly switched gears from declaring that reopening was proceeding with few ill effects (Reuters5/17/20Tampa Bay Times5/28/20) to expressing alarm that health officials’ warnings against lifting social distancing restrictions too soon had been proven right—a cognitive dissonance perhaps most dramatically depicted in Oregon Public Broadcasting’s headline, “Oregon’s COVID-19 Spike Surprises, Despite Predictions of Rising Caseloads” (6/10/20).

Increasingly, the big story has been the litany of state moves to halt or roll back reopenings: A typical roundup in the New York Times (6/26/20) included closing bars in Texas and Florida, a full stay-at-home order in California’s Imperial County, and putting beaches off-limits in Miami-Dade County for the July 4th weekend.

“This is a very dangerous time,” declared Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, where new cases began rising on June 15, just over a month after the state allowed stores and businesses to reopen. “I think what is happening in Texas and Florida and several other states should be a warning to everyone.”

But a warning of what? While the question of how quickly to reopen will affect potentially millions of lives, equally important is asking what science can tell us about how to reopen. Health experts point to many lessons we can learn from the pandemic experience, both in the US and elsewhere, that can help inform which activities are safest (and most necessary) to resume—a discussion that is more useful than the media’s inclination toward simple debates about whether reopening is good or bad (LA Times5/14/20New York Times5/20/20).

Among the most important conclusions:

1. Types of reopenings matter

While the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 at first seemed like an all-powerful threat that could be carried by everything from cardboard boxes to cats, public health officials have long since determined that infection is overwhelmingly via person-to-person encounters. This means that reducing face-to-face interaction time—or ensuring that it’s at least conducted while wearing masks, or in outdoor or well-ventilated spaces—is key to reducing risk, as spelled out in a diagram by University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth infectious disease researcher and blogger Erin Bromage:

Face to Face Conversations: Lowest Risk to Highest Risk

Infectious disease experts have attempted to reduce this equation to simple mnemonics that will be easy to remember; Tulane University epidemiologist Susan Hassig has cited “the three D’s: diversity, distance and duration” (Business Insider6/8/20), while Ohio State’s William Miller created the rhyme “time, space, people, place” (NPR6/23/20). These were featured in the increasingly common articles attempting to rank which activities were riskiest, including some that assigned weirdly specific point scales to behaviors for anyone wondering whether they should go bowling or for a pontoon boat ride (MLive6/2/20)

A mass outbreak in a South Korean call center showed how easily the coronavirus can spread in an office environment; workspaces of infected employees are marked in blue (Business Insider, 4/28/20).

A mass outbreak in a South Korean call center showed how easily the coronavirus can spread in an office environment; workspaces of infected employees are marked in blue (Business Insider, 4/28/20).

But most of those articles entirely ignored one of the most widespread reopening activities: going back to work in shared office spaces. Infectious disease experts say that offices can be the perfect petri dishes for viral spread, involving gatherings of a large number of people, indoors, for a long time, with recirculated air. As one study (Business Insider4/28/20) of a coronavirus outbreak at a Seoul call center showed, the virus can quickly spread across an entire floor, especially in a modern open-plan office. In fact, the call center was doubly prone to viral spread, because its workers were all talking constantly, which previous studies have found to spread respiratory droplets just as effectively as coughing (Better Humans4/20/20)—a warning that was heavily noted in media’s coverage of the risks of chanting protestors (Washington Post5/31/20Politico6/8/20), but notably missing from articles on the reopening of workplaces.

“They’re pretty high-risk spaces,” Boston University School of Public Health epidemiologist Eleanor Murray tells FAIR. “What we would like to see with offices, if people have to be there for the function of the office to work, is to keep the minimum number of people in at any given time.” (She also urges consideration of the risk to office cleaning workers, who are seldom included in back-to-work safety debates.)

This is especially key, adds Tulane’s Hassig, in office environments where co-workers are breathing the same air. Workers can safely unmask if they’re in a private office where they can shut their door, she tells FAIR; however, “if you’re in an open office space with little four-foot cubicle walls, everybody needs to be wearing masks all the time.”

Yet most states have limited themselves to following CDC guidelines for reopening offices, which mandate wearing masks only when within six feet of a co-worker. But as Bromage (5/6/20) has pointed out, “Social distancing rules are really to protect you with brief exposures or outdoor exposures.”

In fact, former Arizona Department of Health Services director Will Humble told Newsweek (6/9/20) that one reason his state became the nation’s leader in new infections per capita was that local officials did not go beyond CDC mandates to impose “performance criteria such as required business mitigation measures, contact tracing capacity or mask-wearing.” Hassig worries that the CDC’s guidance may have been “far less prescriptive than they would like it to be from the scientific perspective,” noting that “we’ve got plenty of evidence that distance is not enough if you’re in a shared space with lots of people.”

All of this would have been good for US workers returning to their jobs to know, but very little of it has made it into media coverage of reopenings, whether before or after the recent virus spikes. And the rare exceptions often left much to be desired: When CBS News (5/28/20) devoted time to investigating the dangers of reopening offices, it was solely in terms of whether plumbing systems left stagnant during closures could lead to the spread of Legionnaires’ disease.

2. Let science, not political power, guide health decisions

Because it takes at least two to three weeks for case numbers to noticeably rise in response to a change in social distancing rules, Hassig says, states should start slowly, and wait to see if numbers rise before moving on to the next stage of reopening. “If your reopening timetable is preset, that’s somewhat of a folly,” she says. Ideally, she says, after each change in policy, states should “wait at least three weeks to make a decision before you move on, which would mean that probably you’re really looking at a month in each phase. And that is not what Texas did.”

Do you need to know whether independent health experts think this is a good idea? Apparently not (Austin American Statesman, 5/1/20)

Do you need to know whether independent health experts think this is a good idea? Apparently not (Austin American Statesman, 5/1/20)

It’s also not how the Texas media presented reopening plans to the public. The Austin American Statesman (4/27/205/1/20) dutifully listed types of businesses that would resume operations under Gov. Greg Abbott’s reopening order, but never cited any independent health officials on the risks each activity would entail. When the Dallas Morning News (4/30/20) ran answers to reader questions about the reopening, the only potential negative consequence it mentioned was whether Texans who refused to return to work could still get unemployment benefits. And the Houston Chronicle (4/30/20) declared, “No more stay-home. Just stay safe”—though the only “safety” measures it mentioned were those still being recommended by Abbott, such as wearing masks in public and limiting the size of gatherings.

The New York Times (5/1/20), meanwhile, chose to both-sides the issue with a story headlined “A Texas-Size Reopening Has Many Wondering: Too Much or Not Enough?”

In doing so, the media largely followed the lead of elected officials, who in many cases let concern over profit-and-loss statements take precedence over whether the data indicated it was safe to resume business as usual. In Ohio, state officials went so far as to allow guidelines to be written by the businesses seeking to reopen themselves (Columbus Dispatch6/29/20), something health experts suspect helped lead to a tripling of daily new cases in the state between June 14 and June 25.

3. Learn from places that have done better

The Covid curves in many European and Asian nations that were hit the earliest and took the first and strongest action have remained low, despite reopenings in those nations: Italy, for example, once the world epicenter of the virus, currently has under three new cases per day per million residents, according to Johns Hopkins data—about half the infection rate for the least-hard-hit US state, Vermont.

Those nations, however, took very different approaches to reopening than the US. First off, they waited until case rates were much lower before reopening: When Italy first reopened restaurants on May 18, its daily new-case rate, averaged over the previous week, was 14.4 per million residents; when Florida did so on May 4, its average daily rate was 31.7 per million. “Where you start in terms of your case burden will probably wind up being one of the best predictors of how well your reopening went,” says Hassig.

Some hard-hit European countries have had much more success with reopening than the United States, as a comparison of per capita average daily new cases shows (orange: Italy; green: Spain; red: Germany; blue: France; purple: US). (Chart: 91-VIDOC)

Some hard-hit European countries have had much more success with reopening than the United States, as a comparison of per capita average daily new cases shows (orange: Italy; green: Spain; red: Germany; blue: France; purple: US). (Chart: 91-VIDOC)

In addition, the measures the European nations took to get cases down that low were much stricter than those ever implemented in the US—something that was largely overlooked in rundowns of nations imposing and lifting lockdowns (New York Times6/10/20CNBC6/25/20). “What we were doing in the US compared to what Europe was doing in terms of lockdown are completely different things,” says Murray:

I have friends in France, and you had to have a permit that said what time you were allowed to go to the grocery store. So even the places in the US that did a gradual opening were already starting from a much more open place than places in Europe.

US residents can also learn from areas of their own country that have done comparatively well under reopenings. Hassig notes that New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish have provided an unintentional controlled experiment—albeit “a sample of one”—in the efficacy of wearing masks: “The mayor of New Orleans made masking mandatory in indoor spaces, which empowered businesses to put up signs like ‘No mask, no shoes, no shirt, no service.’”

The city, which had been an early Covid hotspot, also established a hotline to report violators, kept casinos closed longer, and kept tighter restrictions on such things as church gatherings—with the result, says Hassig, that Orleans Parish currently has less than half the new-case rate of the similarly sized Jefferson Parish. (On Monday, Jefferson Parish announced its own mandatory mask order—New Orleans Advocate6/29/20.)

4. Every reopening is a tradeoff

When media outlets posit the decision facing states as balancing the economic needs with public-health needs, it not only ignores that an out-of-control pandemic would be an economic catastrophe (Guardian3/26/20), but overlooks another important point: In reopening, governments have a limited amount of risk they can safely spread around without losing control of an outbreak. As a result, reopening decisions don’t just impact public health and the economy now—they also could end up undermining your ability to reopen other things down the road.

“It’s not ‘open’ or ‘shut’—there’s a whole spectrum in between,” says Murray. “We need to be thinking about what are the high-priority things that we need to reopen from a functioning point of view, and not an enjoyment point of view.”

If the goal is to prevent the kind of explosive surge in Covid cases that many states saw in March and April—and which are now being repeated in new hotspots in June and July—that means picking and choosing carefully, not just which activities are the safest, but which are the most urgent for a functioning society—which, it bears emphasizing, is not the same thing as what’s best for businesses’ bottom lines.

“We need to be getting dentists’ offices open and getting childcare open and getting elective medical treatment open; bars are not as important,” advises Murray. “It may be that we have to give up on some of those things to allow the risks that some of these other activities take.”

That’s a discussion that will require informed public debate on the conditions of reopening, from what should stay closed to whether to require masks. It’s a debate that will be much easier if the media spends less time on who is “winning” or “losing” in the struggle to reopen, and more on why people are getting infected—and how they could not be.

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Lebanon: Tortured … cuts, burns, assault with a sharp instrument and malnutrition

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_8374.jpg

The General Directorate of the Internal Security Forces announced that on 30/6/2020, a phone call was received to the Barja family in the regional gendarmerie unit, about the exposure of two children of Syrian nationality to intimidation by their father and wife, in the town of Baasir – Chouf.

Immediately, a patrol of the aforementioned platoon brought the two children, the father and his wife, who are:

P. H. (Born in 1983), father

to. M. (Born in 1989), stepmother

M. H. (Born in 2009)

R. H. (Born in 2011)

The two children were presented to a forensic doctor, and he reported in his report that they were subjected to intimidation, the presence of traces of wounds, burns throughout their bodies – as well as in sensitive places – and the effects of teeth (bites), cyanosis, redness, swelling, and severe machine assault, in addition to that they suffer from ill feed.

By listening to the testimony of the two children – in the presence of the juvenile delegate – they stated that their father’s wife had always incited the latter against them to taunt them, and was depriving them of food, as it was only served to her children.

By interrogating the father and his wife, they confessed to taunting the two children as a form of discipline, as they beat their other siblings.

Both the father and his wife were arrested and deposited the Judicial Detachment of Beiteddine in the Judicial Police Unit to expand the investigation with them.

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Nazi occupation Arrests the wife of a prisoner and a student in Birzeit

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr


The Nazi occupation forces arrested, at dawn today, a number of Palestinians, in a number of West Bank governorates, and the arrests included the wife of Asir in Ramallah, and a student at Birzeit University.

In the details, an occupation military force stormed Al-Tirah neighborhood, west of Ramallah, and arrested Hanin Nassar (37 years), the wife of the prisoner Rami Fadayel (41 years), after his house was raided and taken to an unknown destination.

It is noteworthy that “Hanin and Rami” did not witness stability in their lives due to the large number of arrests and years of captivity. Age today (14 years).

Clashes erupted between dozens of youths and the occupation forces in the neighborhood, interspersed with the firing of rubber-coated metal bullets and grenades by the soldiers, which led to bottlenecks among the youth and journalists.

The Nazi occupation forces, student at Birzeit University, also arrested Elia Abu Hijleh after storming Al-Tirah neighborhood in the early morning hours.

The Nazi occupation forces stormed the Jalazoun camp, north of Ramallah, and arrested a young man, Mahdi Nasser Samada’a (19 years), after raiding his family’s house and tampering with his belongings, and he was transferred to the settlement of Beit El.

The Nazi occupation also arrested the young Amjad Samhan during his storming his house in the town of Bir Zeit in the north.

Prisoner Weshahi has been fighting Nazi solitary confinement for a year and more


The Nazi occupation Prisons Administration has continued for a year and three months, isolating the prisoner Islam Wishahi (38 years) from Jenin. 

The Prisoner Club said in a statement today, Tuesday, that the prisoner Weshahi has been detained in the isolation of the “Ohlickidar-Beersheba” prison, and for three months his family was unable to check on him, with the visits of lawyers being suspended as part of a series of measures related to the Corona epidemic announced by the Prison Administration The occupation last March, which actually contributed to doubling the level of isolation of prisoners. 

In this context, the Prisoners Club indicated that the isolated prisoner is automatically denied a family visit, and the visit of his lawyer is the only way to communicate with the outside world, knowing that the prison administration recently allowed the lawyers to conduct visits to the prisoners, after they stopped for about three months. 

He pointed out that during the month of June, the Prison Administration issued a new order to extend the removal of the prisoner, Weshahi, which is the fifth order issued against him since the date of his dismissal, and for a period of six months. 

It is reported that the prisoner, Weshahi, who was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment, was brutally assaulted in the desert Negev Nazi Camp following a crackdown carried out by the prison administration in the month of March 2019, which caused him fractures, bruises, and wounds. The repression was the most violent in years. Dozens of prisoners. 

And the Nazi regime are calling for adding a new ruling on the prisoner, Wishahhi, provided that the ruling is more than ten years.

It is noteworthy that the occupation forces arrested Weshahi on December 1, 2002, by the special units after a chase for eight months as a result of the battle of the siege of the Jenin camp, in which the captive participated and was not then 18 years old, and was subjected to a harsh investigation for two months before the courts were issued The occupation has sentenced him to 19 years imprisonment.

Prisoner Maher Al-Akhras is on hunger strike to refuse to arrest him

Prisoner Kamal Abu Waer is recovering from Corona 

Stone of prisoners in Raymond, after the announcement of injuries to the occupation ranks

Health: 2 deaths and 380 new cases of coronavirus

Palestinians stand up to magnification .. 920 Nazi Jewish settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in the morning

Her body was found after 9 years … her father threw it in a hole in an old well in Hebron

Her case caused a stir .. Her body was found in a vehicle in Petunia, and the police arrested “those suspected of murder”.

Fatah secretary was killed in Balat Al-Balad by Palestinian security forces

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Palestine: Life under Nazi occupation

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Prisoner Uday Shehadeh is on hunger strike to protest his administrative detention


Nazi occupied Bethlehem: The captive Uday Shehadeh, from the Deheisheh camp in the city of Bethlehem, continues his hunger strike to protest his administrative detention for the sixth consecutive day.

Muhammad Shehadeh, the prisoner’s brother, told “ Quds News ”: This is the second detention of his brother Uday, where he was arrested for the first time and sentenced to ten months in prison, and after his release about three months he was again arrested on November 21, 2019.

He pointed out that the occupation transferred him to Nazi administrative detention for a period of four months immediately, then renewed it for four seconds, to enter a hunger strike that ended after three days of fighting after promises from the prison administration to end administrative detention.

He explained that the prison administration had broken its promise, as the occupation court rejected the appeal last Monday, and also refused to give him a fundamental decision to not extend.

He pointed out that his brother was being held in Zananin, Ofer Nazi military Camp, where he began a hunger strike as a protest step against his administrative detention, for the sixth consecutive day. 

It is mentioned that the prisoner Uday Shehadeh suffers from the “sister” and needs urgent medical follow-up. The Nazi occupation also prevented him from completing his university education, as he is studying at Al-Ahliyya University in Bethlehem (Sharia specialization).

Nazi occupation arrests nine Palestinians from the West Bank, including freed prisoners

Night Arrests (1)

At dawn today, the Nazi occupation forces arrested nine Palestinians after they destroyed their homes in the occupied West Bank.

The Prisoners’ Information Office reported that the occupation forces arrested the liberated prisoner, Awni Faris, from the town of Silwad, east of Ramallah, Amjad Hassan al-Rubaie, from Dura al-Qara in the east, and the two young men, Fakhri Hammad and Saeed Abu Shalbaya, from al-Amari camp.

In Jenin, the Nazi occupation forces arrested the young Osama Turkman (18 years) and the liberated prisoner Baha Adnan Masoud Abu Bakr (25 years) from the town of Ya`bad.

The Nazi occupation forces arrested the young Hamada Adawi and the boy Ahmed Raafat Al-Badawi, after they raided their homes in Al-Aroub camp, north of Hebron.

In Tulkarm, the young occupation army arrested Ahmad Raddad (23 years), after they raided his house in Saida.

Updated Removal of a young woman from Al-Aqsa Mosque and settlers storming his courtyard


The Nazi occupation Police decided on Monday to expel a Palestinian woman from Al-Aqsa Mosque for a period of six months.

The young woman, Aya Abu Nab, stated on her Facebook page that the occupation police handed her a decision last week to remove her from the Al-Aqsa Mosque for a week, after her arrest from the “Gate of Mercy”, to return again to the investigation to receive the deportation order for several months.

She added that she refused to appear again, as Nazi Gastapo intelligence forces and the Nazi police stormed her house in Silwan this morning, and handed her a decision to expel her for six months.

Commenting on the decision, Abu Nabb said: “It is an unjust, illegal, and denial of our worship in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The Nazi occupation Police arrested Abu Nab and four other young women from the “Gate of Mercy” last Sunday (June 21) after they were attacked and taken to the “Al Qashleh” Center, where they were released on condition of their deportation and the appearance of an investigation again after the expiration period expired.

This morning, 54 settlers stormed the courtyards of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque with the protection of the occupation police and special forces.

How do the young captives live in Damoon Prison?


The Palestinian Prisoners and Editors Affairs Authority said that the young prisoners in the Damon Prison suffer from difficult living conditions; They are detained by the occupation in Section “1”, which is very small, poorly ventilated, and the area of ​​the outburst is very narrow.

The authority stated in a statement today, Monday, that 28 prisoners of children held by the Nazi occupation in the Damon, Nazi Camp are distributed in five rooms, three of which have a small window behind it directly, there is a wall and a sheet above it, so the air never enters these rooms, and that a yard The furah is a narrow corridor of 46 square meters, and is not suitable for walking or exercising, and more importantly, the prison officers and jailers walk between them during the boom to reach their offices.

She explained that the bathrooms inside the rooms and the doors of the toilets are broken, so the prisoners are forced to put a cover on the entrance to the toilet when any prisoner enters it, and that the place of the shower is outside the section, and the prison administration allows half an hour to shower for each room.

The young prisoners are also deprived of visits by their relatives for months, in addition to their suffering regarding the scarcity of materials in the “cantina” (prison canteen), which has become a general problem in all prisons due to the continuous restrictions by the Ardan extremist committee against the prisoners and their needs.

Prisoners’ Authority: The health of the prisoner, Kamal Abu Waer, is very bad


The Palestinian Prisoners and Editors Affairs Authority said that the health of the prisoner who is ill with cancer, Kamal Abu Waar (46 years), from Jenin, is very dangerous and bad.

The authority added in a statement, today, Monday, that the suffering of the prisoner Abu Waar, held in the “Gilboa” prison, began to appear in late 2019, when he underwent radiotherapy, after deliberate medical negligence, and was transported more than once to perform tests via a restricted “medium” car. Hands without observing his health conditions. 

She pointed out that the prisoner Abu Waer suffers from throat cancer, and his condition is constantly exacerbated, which led to weight loss, great difficulty in speaking and neck and head aches.

The Commission held the occupation authorities fully responsible for the life of the prisoner Abu Waar, who is imprisoned for 6 life sentences and 50 years, in addition to the lives of 700 sick prisoners, including at least ten prisoners suffering from cancer.

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What Blocked Naziyahu From Beginning Planned Theft of Swathes of Palestinian West Bank on July 1?

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo: AP)

By Juan Cole,

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu failed to begin the theft of substantial swathes of the Palestinian West Bank on July 1, as he had once pledged, according to UPI. 

The reasons for the hold up are a little murky, but here are some considerations.

1. Peter Beaumont and Rosie Scammell at the Guardian reported that Netanyahu’s partner in the government of national unity, Benny Gantz, has begun saying that annexation should be put off until after Israel can deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Gantz was never as enthusiastic as Netanyahu to take this step, though he also did not seem to have anything much against doing it. 

Gantz is quoted by Reuters as having estimated that the coronavirus crisis could last for 18 months, so he seems to be putting off annexation that long. Unless the arrangement changes, in 18 months Netanyahu would cycle out of the prime ministership and Gantz will take his turn, which means he may not carry out annexation at all, since it is mainly Netanyahu’s pet project. The pandemic has caused Israeli unemployment to shoot up to 20%.

In response, Reuters says, Netanyahu is threatening to put together a coalition of pro-annexation parties in parliament that could overrule Gantz. It is not clear to me, however, that Netanyahu has a 61-vote majority on the issue if it is opposed by Gantz and his coalition. Netanyahu’s far right Likud Party and its allies were never able to get a majority over the past three elections. That is why he had to put together a government of national unity and agree to rotate with Gantz in the first place. For example, the Israeli Labor Party, despite having joined the national unity government in search of cabinet posts, has expressed its opposition to annexation.

Other hindrances are external. The Guardian piece cited above says that the Gulf Arab states with good relations with Jared Kushner are pressuring him to stop Netanyahu’s vast land theft. The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, strong Trump supporters, do not care very much about Palestinians in and of themselves. But their populations are very pro-Palestinian, and Netanyahu’s land grab could cause them a great deal of grief if they are not seen to be actively opposing it.

Also it occurs to me that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi may be afraid that annexation will make Iran more popular than they are in the region, since they have been cozying up to Netanyahu while Iran’s government has stood strongly for Palestinian rights. 

Likewise, the two are still trying to boycott and blackball the small Gulf state of Qatar, which has a much firmer track record in supporting Palestinians than do Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar could win a lot of good will in the Arab World as a result of its stand. Doha has been sending humanitarian aid to Gaza through Israeli institutions but has threatened to stop doing so if Netanyahu actually carries out his plans for grand larceny. Israel likes the Qatar money going to Gaza as a safety valve, and if it stops there could be violence, not to mention that Hamas has threatened to take military action if annexation goes through

Another hang-up for Netanyahu is that Kushner’s plan might allow the annexation, but only if the rest of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza are then constituted as a Palestinian state. The right flank of Netanyahu’s coalition (which is far, far, far Right wing) vehemently objects to the very idea of even a demilitarized Palestinian state. Netanyahu has attempted to finesse them by saying it would be a state in name only, but they are afraid of the very name.

The European Union and even Britain have come out against annexation, and Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said that “annexation is illegal. Period.” Which is true in international law.

But Netanyahu has spent a political lifetime spitting in the face of international law and getting away with dissing his European partners, and none of that is likely to deter him.

Slightly more important might be Jordan’s fierce opposition to the move. Israeli military and intelligence officials value Jordan’s security cooperation with them, but Jordan’s government is considering halting it if annexation is enacted. Likewise, Jordan is considering, according to Al Jazeera, halting economic and social interchanges with Israel and expelling Israel’s ambassador from Amman. For the moment, apparently revoking its peace treaty with Israel is not being seriously considered.

Netanyahu was ecstatic to put together the government of national unity and to return as prime minister precisely in order to beat the corruption charges against him and to annex a third of the Palestinian West Bank. He was convinced that only Trump would allow him to go forward, and it was now or never (if Biden is elected, he will just tell the Israelis ‘no’ on this issue, and has said so).

But it turns out that Netanyahu, for all his bluster and history of acting unilaterally, isn’t for the moment entirely unconstrained. He may well yet succeed in accomplishing at least some of his plan, but he faces many more obstacles than he appears to have anticipated.

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Hong Kong and the British government’s servile stupidity

Our rulers are tying us ever more firmly to the war chariot of US imperialism.

Ella Rule

The latest anti-China hysteria being provoked in Britain around the protests in Hong Kong and China’s supposed culpability in connection with the coronavirus pandemic amount to nothing more than the screams of rage of a fading imperialist power confronted with a power that is swiftly rising to prominence in the world.

Martin Wolf of the Financial Times has drawn attention to disturbing parallels with the situation that existed at the run up to the first world war:

“A fascinating paper by Markus Brunnermeier and Harold James of Princeton University and Rush Doshi of Brookings argues that ‘the rivalry between China and the USA in the twenty-first century holds an uncanny resemblance to the one between Germany and Great Britain in the nineteenth’.

“Both rivalries took place in an era of economic globalisation and rapid technological innovation … Moreover, both rivalries featured ‘countries enmeshed in profound interdependence wielding tariff threats, standard-setting, technology theft, financial power, and infrastructure investment for advantage’.

“‘Latecomers’, such as Germany then or China now, simply will not accept permanent disadvantage.”

And of course the old lags try to hang on like grim death to their historic privileges and increasingly unwarranted advantages! All this was, of course, explained, by VI Lenin over a century ago in connection with the first world war in his pamphlet Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.

Unlike imperial Germany in the 19th century, however, China is not a rival imperialist power, but it is enough that it is a rival economic power whose fair dealings with various oppressed countries round the world tend to undermine the ability of imperialist powers, including Britain, to superexploit those countries to the full extent that they would like.

Quite rightly, Mr Wolf realises it was economic rivalry that led to the first world war and catastrophe, and, as it would seem he is not quite insane, he would prefer that this should not be the outcome of the present rivalry, though he is careful to assign the blame for any such outcome on ‘Germany then or China now’, the newcomer not the decaying power.

In actual fact it was Britain and France that precipitated the war against Germany, and not the other way round, as they were anxious to defeat it militarily before it became strong enough to defeat them, and something of the kind is certainly in the mind of the imperialist powers with respect to China now.

An important part of preparing for war is to mobilise public opinion in support of the war, to dress up what would be an unjust predatory war as a noble war in defence of human rights, democracy and freedom. And a sure sign of the fact that imperialism is contemplating such a war is precisely the anti-China propaganda frenzy. If the Daily Express is to be believed, it is being very effective, at least among Tory party members:

“With anger growing over the Chinese government allegedly covering up the coronavirus outbreak 68.7 percent want manufacturing capabilities brought back from China to the UK while 88.7 percent back the creation of the so-called D10 group of G7 economies plus India, Australia and South Korea to form an economic bloc to combat China.” (Tories vote to allow British Hong Kong citizens to come to the United Kingdom by David Maddox, 15 June 2020)

Goebbels, with good reason, always claimed to have learnt his disinformation techniques by emulating the British!

Boris intent on cutting off Britain’s nose

Of course, the main contender for war against China is the imperialist United States, angry not only about the undermining of its imperialist enterprises but also about China’s increasing ability to compete to great effect with America’s remaining high-tech and military industries.

Imperialist Britain has for decades now been reduced to the position of America’s sidekick. Boris Johnson, though, is setting new records in falling over backwards to ingratiate himself with the Boss, no matter the cost to his own country. For instance, while at one time the government was prepared to have some consideration for the interests of the British economy by using Huawei equipment to provide the best and cheapest wifi, including what is expected to be a totally game-changing 5G network, it is now ordering this to be ripped out:

“The National Cyber Security Centre in the UK is expected to conclude that US sanctions against Huawei will make it impossible to use the Chinese company’s technology as planned for 5G networks.

“The emergency review … is designed to pave the way for Downing Street to push for the total elimination of Huawei equipment in British phone networks by 2023 and quell a Conservative backbench revolt [actually, to appease US imperialism].

“That move will amount to a hasty reversal of the policy announced by ministers in January to limit Huawei to 35 percent of the British 5G network supply. It also risks irritating China and adding hundreds of millions of costs to BT and other phone companies.” (Cyber security review may spell end for Huawei 5G deal by Dan Sabbagh, The Observer, 24 May 2020)

No less a person than CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn has expressed dismay at the damage any such action would do to British industry:

“The boss of Britain’s biggest business group has waded into the row over Huawei’s role in the nation’s 5G network, warning moves to restrict the Chinese firm’s involvement could ‘damage’ economic recovery.

“CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said the nation’s future economic revival is already being labelled a ‘digital first’ recovery, with many employees working from home and firms seeking innovative ways to adapt and boost productivity.” (CBI boss Carolyn Fairbairn storms into row over Huawei 5G involvement by Neil Craven, Mail on Sunday, 13 June 2020)

Preparing for a new world war

The anti-China belligerence extends well beyond the boycotting of Huawei, as is illustrated by the following weasel words from the Financial Times:

“Boris Johnson’s government is drawing up a strategy to reduce the UK’s reliance on China for key imported goods, as ministers acknowledge that a combination of the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit will force a big shake-up of the country’s supply chains.

“The planned overhaul will aim to implement the results of ‘Project Defend’ – an internal exercise to ensure Britain retains access to critical goods while diversifying the country’s trading relationships.

“Those working on the project … stressed it was primarily about strengthening the country’s trade links in the wake of coronavirus but would also lead to the production of some critical goods being brought back to the UK, after the pandemic exposed the UK’s reliance on imports.

“‘Reshoring everything doesn’t fit with our ambition to be a champion of free trade,’ said one person briefed on the talks. But a recurring theme of the discussions has been the need to reduce Britain’s reliance on trade with China, the second-biggest source of imports by value after Germany.

“The Covid-19 crisis has forced ministers to confront the lack of domestic sources of critical medical supplies, such as protective equipment, vaccines and certain chemicals, after the pandemic led to global shortages.” (UK looks to wean itself off Chinese imports by George Parker and Daniel Thomas, 10 June 2020)

So, the excuse for reducing trade with China, precisely at a time when the UK is desperate for trade deals because of Brexit, is to secure domestic sources of supplies in the event of supply chains being once more disrupted by a pandemic or other emergency. By targeting these measures at China, and China alone, the government could not be clearer in demonstrating that it is anticipating the ‘emergency’ would be war with China.

Further measures are being taken in the field of investment. “Boris Johnson is preparing to announce tough laws to prevent foreign takeovers that pose a risk to national security as concern grows about the influence of China”, wrote Steven Swinford recently. (Laws to curb Chinese takeovers, The Times, 8 June 2020)

Never mind that Britain is desperate for foreign investment to assist with its recovery from economic crisis. It’s better to suffer than to accept help from China!

All this kowtowing to the requirements of Uncle Sam will no doubt be pleasing to President Donald Trump, although in pursuance of its perennial policy of ‘America First’, only a fool would look in that direction to make good the losses arising from wrecking friendly relations with China.

Tame journalists pimp for war with Hong Kong propaganda

To ‘justify’ this unwarranted belligerence against China, the discontent in Hong Kong, undoubtedly fostered by the dirty-tricks brigades of US and British imperialism, is being milked for all its worth.

We are asked to believe that the discontent is about ‘lack of freedom’, that the people of Hong Kong are being viciously suppressed, and that no worse fate could possibly befall them than to have China pass legislation criminalising treason.

And of course, China is supposedly in breach of its international obligation undertaken when Hong Kvong was returned to the motherland to maintain for 50 years a state of ‘One country, two systems’, which is being interpreted as meaning that China had accepted it was not to have sovereignty over Hong Kong at all!

As we have seen with the ‘colour revolutions’ fostered by imperialism, the trick is to take advantage of local grievances (in Hong Kong’s case the high cost of housing) to mobilise large public demonstrations and then to ensure that a violent task force causes sufficient damage to property to need police suppression, which is then touted as evidence that the innocent public have no right to express dissent of any kind.

This violence is repeated as often as possible, and the whole recipe is soused in a rich mixture of anti-government propaganda, plenty of cash and other facilities being provided to make sure this ingredient thoroughly permeates the whole.

In the homelands of the would-be warmongering imperialists, acceptance of this ‘truth’ is hammered home by unremitting repetition in the media of these carefully crafted lies, along with suppression of those who try to spread the truth – suspension of social media accounts, withdrawal of broadcasting licences, etc.

US hypocrisy exposed by Floyd murder and protests

Much to the embarrassment of the imperialists, however, in the midst of their campaign of anti-China ravings huge demonstrations burst out in the United States, subsequently taken up all over the capitalist world, against institutional racism following the police murder of George Floyd on 25 May 2020, who gasped ‘I can’t breathe’ as a policeman kneeled with his full weight on George’s neck until he died.

Because the murder of black people by police is such a regular occurrence in the United States, the genuine anger of the masses of people, both black and white, did lead to some destruction of property, and the response of US imperialism was of course far more violent and repressive than anything that had been done by the Hong Kong police.

In addition President Trump saw fit to refer to the demonstrators as terrorists, lowlifes and losers, and to threaten to deploy the national guard, as well as the military against them, openly threatening that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.

So when “America’s state department last weekend [30-31 May] called on ‘freedom-loving people’ to hold China to account for its vow to impose a national security law on Hong Kong. A Chinese official instantly tweeted: ‘I can’t breathe’.” (America’s battered moral standing by Editorial Board, Financial Times, 5 June 2020)

As far as freedom of speech is concerned, here too America far outdoes anything China might do to try to quell the mendacious speech of troublemakers:

“This is what freedom of the press in America has looked like over the past week. As of 9.00pm Thursday [4 June], the US Press Freedom Tracker had received 192 reports of journalists being attacked by police while covering the protests across the US.” (Teargassed, beaten up, arrested: what freedom of the press looks like in the US right now by Poppy Noor, The Guardian, 6 June 2020)

Imagine the hysteria in the bourgeois media if China had responded to the Hong Kong protests in like manner!

The latest propaganda stick for beating China with is the fact that it proposes to provide Hong Kong with a security law that will provide criminal penalties for “splittism, subversion, terrorism, and any behaviour that gravely threatens national security, and foreign interference”. Since there is not a country in the world that does not penalise subversion, secession, terrorism and acts that threaten national security, this is obviously nothing that warrants the hysterical denunciations that are daily emerging from the bourgeois media.

All that is left is to say that China had no right to impose such a law, since the 1984 handover agreement established a mini-constitution for Hong Kong, the ‘Basic Law’, under which the territory is required to implement its own national security law to replace colonial legislation revoked during the handover. In the 23 years since the handover, however, Hong Kong has failed to do so.

Given the present unrest, China could not but step in to remedy the omission. This is its sovereign right.

British hypocrisy over refugees

To boost the imperialist fantasy that Hong Kongers will be facing repression of holocaust proportions, the British government has come up with the wheeze – to please America and annoy China – of offering the right of residence in the UK to up to three million Hong Kong citizens who have British National (Overseas) passports or are entitled to them, which hitherto did not confer any right to enter the UK.

This amounts to a third of the territory’s population! Apparently almost two-thirds of Conservative party members, according to David Maddox in the Daily Express support giving Hong Kongers full UK citizenship.

Here we are talking about Tories who are notorious for not wanting a single genuinely persecuted refugee to enter Britain, or any foreign child to enter to be united with its family, and who seriously believe refugees threaten to ‘swamp’ our sceptred isle, yet they happily invite in Hong Kongers, who cannot by any stretch of imagination be described as persecuted, in numbers equalling a third of the population of London.

By comparison, the east African Asians who took refuge in Britain in the 1970s numbered only some 70-75,000. Many of these Tories are people who voted for Brexit in the hope it would put a stop to immigration from eastern Europe!

If Britain recognises that it can accommodate three million extra citizens who face no persecution, which we are sure it can, then first and foremost it should open its doors to all those fleeing genuine persecution or destitution such as those languishing in refugee camps all over Europe.

The most important thing to bear in mind about the whole anti-China scenario is that it amounts to preparation for war, and a war against a power that has the ability to strike back at its antagonists in their home countries in a very serious way. This is not somewhere that Boris Johnson should be allowed to lead us.

Martin Wolf concludes his article, as we will conclude ours, with the following words:

“We must also see that purblind nationalism and fantasies of grandeur [that led to the first world war] did not produce an elegant balance of power, but rather a cataclysm …

“Above all, we must not forget how unbridled great-power competition has normally … ended … We need to remember, too, that the weapons now available are far more destructive than those of a century ago …

“These are difficult and dangerous times. We need to rise to the occasion but are not. This is a fact. Recognise it.”

We would only say that Mr Wolf of course has drawn back from reaching the necessary conclusion that for the vast majority of people who abhor war, it is time to recognise that if we are unable to put an end to imperialism, imperialism is bent on leading us to war, and a war of unprecedented devastation at that.

Posted in China, UKComments Off on Hong Kong and the British government’s servile stupidity

I’ve lost all trust in medical research

I’ve lost all trust in medical research – the financial muscle of Big Pharma has been busy distorting science during the pandemic

I’ve lost all trust in medical research – the financial muscle of Big Pharma has been busy distorting science during the pandemic

©  Getty Images / SOPA Images

By Malcolm Kendrick, doctor and author who works as a GP in the National Health Service in England. His blog can be read here and his book, ‘Doctoring Data – How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense,’ is available here.Evidence that a cheap, over-the-counter anti-malarial drug costing £7 combats Covid-19 gets trashed. Why? Because the pharmaceutical giants want to sell you a treatment costing nearly £2,000. It’s criminal.

A few years ago, I wrote a book called ‘Doctoring Data’. This was an attempt to help people understand the background to the tidal wave of medical information that crashes over us each and every day. Information that is often completely contradictory, viz ‘Coffee is good for you… no, wait it’s bad for you… no, wait, it’s good for you again,’ repeated ad nauseam.

I also pointed out some of the tricks, games and manipulations that are used to make medications seem far more effective than they truly are, or vice versa. This, I have to say, can be a very dispiriting world to enter. When I give talks on this subject, I often start with a few quotes.

For example, here is Dr Marcia Angell, who edited the New England Journal of Medicine for over 20 years, writing in 2009:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as editor.”

Have things got better? No, I believe they’ve got worse – if that were, indeed, possible. I was recently sent the following email about a closed-door, no-recording-allowed discussion, held in May of this year under no-disclosure Chatham House rules:READ MORECoronavirus 2.0 may be up to NINE TIMES more contagious … but that may be cause for celebration

“A secretly recorded meeting between the editors-in-chief of The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine reveal both men bemoaning the ‘criminal’ influence big pharma has on scientific research. According to Philippe Douste-Blazy, France’s former health minister and 2017 candidate for WHO director, the leaked 2020 Chatham House closed-door discussion was between the [editor-in-chiefs], whose publications both retracted papers favorable to big pharma over fraudulent data.

The email continued with a quote from that recording: ‘Now we are not going to be able to … publish any more clinical research data because the pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful today, and are able to use such methodologies, as to have us accept papers which are apparently methodologically perfect, but which, in reality, manage to conclude what they want them to conclude,’ said The Lancet’s editor-in-chief, Richard Horton.”

A YouTube video where this issue is discussed can be found here. It’s in French, but there are English subtitles.

The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet are the two most influential, most highly resourced medical journals in the world. If they no longer have the ability to detect what is essentially fraudulent research, then… Then what? Then what, indeed?

In fact, things have generally taken a sharp turn for the worse since the Covid-19 pandemic struck. New studies, new data, new information is arriving at breakneck speed, often with little or no effective review. What can you believe? Who can you believe? Almost nothing would be the safest course of action.

One issue has played out over the past few months, stripping away any remaining vestiges of my trust in medical research. It concerns the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. You may well be aware that Donald Trump endorsed it – which presents a whole series of problems for many people.

However, before the pandemic hit, I was recommending to my local NHS trust that we should look to stock up on hydroxychloroquine. There had been a great deal of research over the years strongly suggesting it could inhibit the entry of viruses into cells, and that it also interfered with viral replication once inside the cell.

This mechanism of action explains why it can help stop the malaria parasite from gaining entry into red blood cells. The science is complex, but many researchers felt there was good reason for thinking hydroxychloroquine may have some real, if not earth-shattering, benefits in Covid-19.ALSO ON RT.COMFirst Russian coronavirus vaccine volunteers report no adverse side-effects. Hopes now high for mass immunization in fall

This idea was further reinforced by the knowledge that it has some effects on reducing the so-called ‘cytokine storm’ that is considered deadly with Covid-19. It’s prescribed in rheumatoid arthritis to reduce the immune attack on joints.

The other reason for recommending hydroxychloroquine is that it’s extremely safe. It is, for example, the most widely prescribed drug in India. Billions upon billions of doses have been prescribed. It is available over the counter in most countries. So, I felt pretty comfortable in recommending that it could be tried. At worst, no harm would be done.

Then hydroxychloroquine became the center of a worldwide storm. On one side, wearing the white hats, were the researchers who’d used it early on, where it seemed to show some significant benefits. For example, Professor Didier Raoult, of the Institut Hospitalo-universitaire Méditerranée Infection, in France:

“A renowned research professor in France has reported successful results from a new treatment for Covid-19, with early tests suggesting it can stop the virus from being contagious in just six days.”READ MOREFrance ordered to pay up after epilepsy drug manufactured by coronavirus vaccine firm Sanofi caused birth defects

Then came this research from a Moroccan scientist at the University of Lille:

“Jaouad Zemmouri … believes that 78 percent of Europe’s Covid-19 deaths could have been prevented if Europe had used hydroxychloroquine… Morocco, with a population of 36 million [roughly one tenth that of the US], has only 10,079 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and only 214 deaths.

“Professor Zemmouri believes that Morocco’s use of hydroxychloroquine has resulted in an 82.5 percent recovery rate from Covid-19 and only a 2.1 percent fatality rate, in those admitted to hospital.”

Just prior to this, on May 22, a study was published in The Lancet, stating that hydroxychloroquine actually increased deaths. It then turned out that the data used could not be verified and was most likely made up. The authors had major conflicts of interest with pharmaceutical companies making anti-viral drugs. In early June, the entire article was retracted by Horton.

Then a UK study came out suggesting that hydroxychloroquine did not work at all. Discussing the results, Professor Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who is co-leading the Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial, stated:

“This is not a treatment for Covid-19. It doesn’t work. This result should change medical practice worldwide. We can now stop using a drug that is useless.”

The study has since been heavily criticized by other researchers, who state that the dose of hydroxychloroquine used was potentially toxic. It was also given far too late to have any positive effect. Many of the patients were already on ventilators.

This week, I was sent a pre-proof copy of an article about a study that will be published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Its author has found that hydroxychloroquine “significantly” decreased the death rate of patients involved in the analysis. The study analyzed 2,541 patients hospitalized in six hospitals between March 10 and May 2 2020, and found 13 percent of those treated with hydroxychloroquine died and 26 percent of those who did not receive the drug died.

When things get this messed up, I tend to look for the potential conflicts of interest. By which I mean, who stands to make money from slamming the use of hydroxychloroquine, which is a generic drug that’s been around since 1934 and costs about £7 for a bottle of 60 tablets?

In this case, first, it’s those companies who make the hugely expensive antiviral drugs such as Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir, which, in the US, costs $2,340 for a typical five-day course. Second, it’s the companies that are striving to get a vaccine to market. There are billions and billions of dollars at stake here.

In this world, cheap drugs such as hydroxychloroquine don’t stand much chance. Neither do cheap vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin D. Do they have benefits for Covid-19 sufferers? I’m sure they do. Will such benefits be dismissed in studies that have been carefully manipulated to ensure they don’t work? Of course. Remember these words: “Pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful today, and are able to use such methodologies, as to have us accept papers which are apparently methodologically perfect, but which, in reality, manage to conclude what they want them to conclude.” 

Unless and until governments and medical bodies act decisively to permanently sever the financial ties between researchers and Big Pharma, these distortions and manipulations in the pursuit of Big Profit will continue. Just please  don’t hold your breath in anticipation.

Posted in HealthComments Off on I’ve lost all trust in medical research

WHO Expects Preliminary Results Of COVID-19 Drug In Two Weeks

Nearly 5,500 patients in 39 countries have so far been recruited into the Solidarity trial.

The World Health Organization reports that there are 18 potential treatment candidates currently testing on humans at the moment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will see within two weeks the first’s results of a clinical trial of candidate drugs to treat the COVID-19 pandemic,  its Director-General Tedros Adhano announced Friday. 

RELATED: WHO Says No Undercounting of Cases in Africa

“Nearly 5,500 patients in 39 countries have so far been recruited into the Solidarity trial,” said Adhanom during a press briefing at the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU).

“Solidarity” is an international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19, launched by the World Health Organization and partners.

“The Solidarity Trial” will compare four treatment options against the standard of care, to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19, by enrolling patients in multiple countries. It aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slow disease progression or improve survival, the WHO explains.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus@DrTedros
.@WHO‘s mission includes serving the vulnerable. Here is how we are working with partners and enhancing support to the #COVID19 response in #Rohingya Camps in Cox’s Bazar: Together!

The candidate treatments are standard care; remdesivir; the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine; the HIV drugs lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.

According to the organization, there are 18 potential candidates been testing in humans at the moment although some approaches already have proven highly effective.

On June 16 the United Nations agency recognized the initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom (UK) that show dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19.

“This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,” said Adhanom on the occasion.

The WHO explains that dexamethasone is a steroid that has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in a range of conditions, including inflammatory disorders and certain cancers. It has been listed on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines since 1977 in multiple formulations and is currently off-patent and affordably available in most countries.

Posted in HealthComments Off on WHO Expects Preliminary Results Of COVID-19 Drug In Two Weeks

U.S: Global COVID Cases Over 11 Million, John Hopkins University

Workers at the regional hospital protest the lack of supplies in Tuxtepec, Mexico July 3, 2020.

Brazil, Russia, India, Peru, Chile, Britain, and Spain’s contagion toll exceeds 250,000 cases.

Johns Hopkins University on Friday confirmed COVID-19 worldwide cases surpassed 11 million.

RELATED: Burundi: President Ndayishimiye Renews Cabinet Amid Pandemic

According to the Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), global cases reached 11,031,905. 

The U.S. has the highest contagion toll, with 2,873,612 COVID-19 recorded cases, as well as 131,926, deceases due to the virus and 1,201,749 recoveries. U.S. health institutions registered over 37,000 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Besides, Brazil, Russia, India, Peru, Chile, Britain, and Spain’s contagion toll exceeds 250,000 cases. China infections surpassed 10.9 million.

Andy Ngô@MrAndyNgoLos Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti finally admitted that massive (BLM) protests are likely causing the number of citywide coronavirus cases to spike, just two days after denying it.

On July 1rst, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus assured the worst stage of the pandemic is yet to come.

“As you know, in March, Italy and Spain were the epicenters of the pandemic. At the peak of its epidemic, Spain had almost 10,000 cases a day, and Italy had more than 6,500 cases,” he stated.

Pandemic epicenter displaced from China to Europe in 2020 first quarter, but most recently, America suffers COVID-19 most severe harm.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on U.S: Global COVID Cases Over 11 Million, John Hopkins University

Brazil: Car Wash Case: Brazil’s Authorities and FBI Colluded Illegally

FBI agents walking down a street.

The Intercept Brasil and Agencia Publica revealed the FBI-Car Wash Task Force illegal agreement.

The Workers’ Party (PT) denounced in the Brazilian Public Prosecutor’s Office the illegal cooperation agreement signed between the Car Wash (CW) task force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

RELATED: Leaked Chats Show Collab Between Brazilian Prosecutors, DOJ

The PT lawyers Eugenio Aragao and Angelo Ferraro pointed out that the CW task force acted illegally as it did not respect the Justice Ministry’s authority and promoted a selective criminal process against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Both lawyers delivered a communication of criminal offense against the CW coordinator in Curitiba, the attorney Deltan Dallagnol, who is accused of prevarication, abuse of authority, and criminal condescension.

“Unmasked and demoralized, prosecutors and former judge Sergio Moro will have to face justice,” said the PT President Gleisi Hoffmann, who signed the lawsuit against Dallagnol.

 “By unofficially sharing information with FBI agents, the CW task force disrespected national sovereignty and illegally used confidential data from Brazilian companies,” Aragao said, assuring that the suspicions against Dallagnol are very serious because they show that the CW task force was acting completely illegally and was out of control.

Pierre Le Duff@pierre_le
American ambassador wearing a cow-boy hat interviewed by Globonews. Investigation from @TheInterceptBr and @agenciapublica about FBI involvement in Brazil’s operation Car Wash is widely ignored by mainstream media


According to the PT lawyers, the Federal Public Ministry has no constitutional or legal authority to spontaneously and autonomously promote foreign relations. The PT also intends to file a public civil action against the Car Wash attorneys.

Aragao pointed out that Dallagnol was outlaw despite being warned that direct cooperation with FBI agents, without the consent of the central authority of the Executive Branch, was an illegal practice. That was not, however, the first time that the CW task force acted outside the law.

The Federal Supreme Court declared unconstitutional an agreement signed by the CW task force and the Petrobras company for a million-dollar donation destined to the creation of a foundation that would be administered by the Curitiba’s lawyers.

Prior to the lawsuit filed by the PT, local outlets The Intercept Brasil and Agencia Publica revealed that the CW task force signed an illegal collaboration agreement with the FBI.

Thanks to this pact, which remained hidden from the Brazilian prosecutors and federal authorities, the FBI agents could access data from the Car Wash Case.

Posted in USA, BrazilComments Off on Brazil: Car Wash Case: Brazil’s Authorities and FBI Colluded Illegally

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