"End of the world as we know it" news & updates thread

Virus forces Europeans to ask: How united do we want to be?

INTRO: Europe’s fractured union came under new pressure this weekend, as Italy and Spain pleaded for urgent European help to withstand the virus ordeal but Germany showed reluctance to plunge into any radical new solutions.

The north-south divide that has dogged the European Union for years has resurfaced as the virus has galloped across the continent, claiming more deaths than any other region in the world. “It is the most difficult moment for the EU since its foundation, and it has to be ready to rise to the challenge,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised address Saturday night.

Sánchez warned them that a lack of solidarity to share the enormous financial burden of the health crisis and the imminent economic slowdown will put the future of the bloc in danger. “Europe must provide a united social and economic response. We must have evidence that Europe listens and that Europe takes action.”

Europeans have shown some signs of solidarity: Germany and Switzerland are treating the sick from Italy and France. Germany and France sent masks and hospital shirts to Italy. And the EU has pledged billions in aid, and threw one of its most sacred rules out the window to help countries weather the virus-driven economic crisis.

But given the scale of this drama, critics say that’s not nearly enough.... (MORE)

Biden's lead evaporates in new poll that finds him weaker vs. Trump than Hillary Clinton was in 2016

INTRO: Former Vice President Joe Biden's national lead over President Donald Trump has nearly evaporated according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll that shows the Democratic frontrunner facing a "massive enthusiasm gap" in the November general election.

Although Biden maintains a solid lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, he finds himself in a statistical tie with the president in a head-to-head matchup, only slightly ahead by two points (49-47%) among registered voters. The pollsters noted that Biden's standing has deteriorated since their last survey in February which found him with a more comfortable 7-point (52-45%) over Trump.

Meanwhile, among Democratic primary voters who support Sanders for the nomination, 15% said they'd back Trump over Biden in November... (MORE)

What’s essential? In France: pastry, wine. In US: golf, guns

EXCERPT: . . . Whether it is in Asia, Europe, Africa or the United States, there’s general agreement: Health care workers, law enforcement, utility workers, food production and communications are generally exempt from lockdowns.

But some lists of exempted activities reflect a national identity or the efforts of lobbyists.

In some U.S. states, golf, guns and ganja have been ruled essential, raising eyebrows and — in the case of guns — a good deal of ire.

In many places, booze is also on the list of essentials. Britain at first kept liquor stores off its list of businesses allowed to remain open, but after reports of supermarkets running out of beer, wine and spirits, the government quickly added them.

“Recent events clearly demonstrate that the process of designating ‘essential services’ is as much about culture as any legal-political reality about what is necessary to keep society functioning,” said Christopher McKnight Nichols, associate professor of history at Oregon State University.

Countries including India and U.S. states are listing the information technology sector as essential. The world’s dependency on the internet has become even more apparent as countless people confined to their homes communicate, stream movies and play games online to stave off cabin fever.

Several states where marijuana is legal, such as California and Washington, deemed pot shops and workers in the market’s supply chain essential. For some, the emphasis is on medicinal uses, not enabling cooped-up people to get stoned.

[...] In France, shops specializing in pastry, wine and cheese have been declared essential businesses.

In a nod to Israel’s vibrant religious life, people can gather for outdoor prayers — with a maximum of 10 worshipers standing 2 meters (2 yards) apart. Demonstrations — also allowed — have occurred outside parliament and the Supreme Court, with participants maintaining social distance.... (MORE)
"The US will be hurt": North Korea slams & threatens US over Pompeo’s G7 Remarks

EXCERPT: North Korea lashed out at the US on Monday, days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on representatives of leading industrial nations at the G7 virtual summit to unify in pressuring the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over its nuclear and missile programs. Last week during the teleconference, Pompeo asked G7 foreign ministers to carry on placing “diplomatic and economic pressure [on North Korea] over its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

In a new statement from top North Korean officials issued via the state outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the office of the director general of the DPRK Foreign Ministry for negotiations with the US repeatedly called Pompeo’s remarks “reckless” and noted that the California native’s commentary sent mixed messages regarding the Trump administration’s intentions toward the DPRK.

[...] The statement further notes that North Korea has ceased its interest in continuing stalled denuclearization discussions with US officials. Although the office’s statement failed to specify its intended actions, it did indicate that North Korea would “repay the US with actual horror and unrest for the sufferings it has inflicted upon our people.”

[...] The state’s remarks come amid renewed missile tests by North Korea which have seen multiple projectiles launched over regional bodies of water. Most recently, the DPRK deployed two short-range missiles over the weekend while carrying out tests of a “super-large” multiple rocket launcher. (MORE - details)

Van Gogh painting stolen from Dutch museum closed for coronavirus

EXCERPT: A Van Gogh painting was stolen overnight Monday from a small Dutch museum in an affluent enclave outside Amsterdam, officials at the Singer Laren museum announced. [...] The painting — a relatively unknown canvas entitled “The Spring Garden,” completed in 1884 — had been loaned to the Singer Laren for a temporary exhibition from the Groninger Museum in Groningen, a city in the northern Netherlands. The Singer Laren, which houses the collection of the American artist William Singer and his wife, Anna Singer, had been closed because of the coronavirus outbreak. Police are investigating the case and have not identified a suspect. (MORE)

Surprising Reason Northern Italy Crematoria Are Overwhelmed with COVID-19 Dead

EXCERPT: With the Italian death toll from coronavirus passing 10,000, the country’s crematoria, especially in the northern region of Lombardy, are overwhelmed and are having to transport bodies to crematoria in other regions. More families of coronavirus victims are choosing cremation over burial, for fear of catching the virus from the dead. [...] Marinelli said in areas like Bergamo and Brescia where the number of dead has been particularly high, army trucks had to be called in to assist to take the corpses to other regions where they could be cremated.

Relatives of those killed by COVID-19 are also unable to grieve for their loved ones as they would like to. In addition to the death of someone in the family, which is in itself dramatic, Marinelli noted that there is also the impossibility of being able to bid farewell to them by holding a funeral. He said this is a situation that Italy has never experienced. (MORE - details)

China Will Do Anything to Deflect Coronavirus Blame

Don’t mistake different messages for division within the [communist] party.

The Problem is the Communist Regime, not the Chinese People

INTRO: Confusing nationality with the government is common, especially in China, where the same party has been in power since 1949. So calling the coronavirus (COVID-19), a “Chinese virus” dissociates it from the main culprit: the Communist Party. After all, the Communist Party was the one that persecuted doctors and journalists for exposing the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic. It even ordered the closure of the Shanghai laboratory that publicly released the first genome sequence of the virus.

“Our beef is not with the Chinese people; our problem is with the CCP — its internal repression, its external aggression, and its malign influence in free and open societies,” said Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin.

Many people claim that discrimination against Chinese people is a consequence of President Donald Trump openly referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus,” and the author’s aim here is to rally against this discrimination. Nevertheless, Rogin is placing the blame on the Chinese Communist Party, thus clarifying that it is not about a certain country but the underlying ideology. (MORE)

How China’s Lies Brought the World to Its Knees

INTRO: The breathtaking negligence of Communist Party officials for over a month after the COVID-19 outbreak led directly to the pandemic now rampaging across the world. From ordering Chinese scientists to destroy evidence of the virus, to suppressing physician warnings, to turning around ships loaded with vital supplies and threatening to block critical pharmaceuticals so that America might experience “the hell of a novel coronavirus epidemic,” there can be no question that when the dust clears, a day of reckoning will be at hand for China.

“China’s actions are going to come back to bite them when this virus is over,” said Harry Kazianis, senior director of Korean Studies at the National Interest, in an interview with TAC. “I think we’re in a whole new world after this. The way people think about the world, globalism—this pandemic is going to have an effect that’s maybe even greater than 9/11. ”

Chinese laboratory technicians had identified a highly infectious new pathogen as early as December 2019. But they were ordered to stop tests, destroy samples, and suppress the news, Chinese media outlet Caixin Global revealed a month ago. “A lot fewer people would have died” if the Chinese government had acted sooner, said Wei Guixian, patient zero at the Wuhan wet market where the outbreak is believed to have originated, in February. Chinese authorities prevented the doctors that treated Wei from sounding the alarm publicly.

One of the first doctors who alerted authorities to the virus was told to stop “spreading rumors” and another doctor had to write a public self-criticism letter about the “negative impact” his warnings had. A doctor in Wuhan, 34-year-old Li Wenliang, was hauled into custody on December 30 for sending text messages to other colleagues warning of the spread and severity of the virus. He died of COVID-19 complications on February 2.

China’s internet censors struggled to contain the deluge of warnings as news of the virus spread like wildfire. “A wide breadth of content,” including neutral keyword combinations like “Wuhan seafood market” and “Sars variation,” were censored on WeChat and other platforms in late December. The Chinese government censored, detained and disappeared doctors, whistleblowers, and citizen journalists who attempted to sound the alarm about what was to come.

Despite doctors’ warnings that the virus was transmissible between humans, authorities held a massive a Chinese Lunar New Year banquet for tens of thousands of Wuhan families. By the time the government issued a lockdown in Wuhan on January 23, the virus had been on the march for seven weeks. At that point, more than five million people had already left Wuhan, according to mayor Zhou Xianwang. China also ignored advice from its own experts that an epidemic like this was just around the corner... (MORE)

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)