Fake coronavirus testing kits seized at Los Angeles airport

Author: Associated Press

‘The effects of the coronavirus will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook,’ the Fed says.

WASHINGTON — Here is a statement the Federal Reserve issued Sunday announcing emergency action to aid the economy in the face of the coronavirus outbreak:

The coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States. Global financial conditions have also been significantly affected. Available economic data show that the U.S. economy came into this challenging period on a strong footing. Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January indicates that the labor market remained strong through February and economic activity rose at a moderate rate.

Job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Although household spending rose at a moderate pace, business fixed investment and exports remained weak. More recently, the energy sector has come under stress. On a 12‑month basis, overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy are running below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation have declined; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The effects of the coronavirus will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook. In light of these developments, the Committee decided to lower the target range for the federal funds rate to 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee expects to maintain this target range until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals. This action will help support economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation returning to the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective.

The Committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook, including information related to public health, as well as global developments and muted inflation pressures, and will use its tools and act as appropriate to support the economy. In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the stance of monetary policy, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments.

The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals. To support the smooth functioning of markets for Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities that are central to the flow of credit to households and businesses, over coming months the Committee will increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $500 billion and its holdings of agency mortgage-backed securities by at least $200 billion.

The Committee will also reinvest all principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. In addition, the Open Market Desk has recently expanded its overnight and term repurchase agreement operations. The Committee will continue to closely monitor market conditions and is prepared to adjust its plans as appropriate.

Voting for the monetary policy action were Jerome H. Powell, Chair; John C. Williams, Vice Chair; Michelle W. Bowman; Lael Brainard; Richard H. Clarida; Patrick Harker; Robert S. Kaplan; Neel Kashkari; and Randal K. Quarles. Voting against this action was Loretta J. Mester, who was fully supportive of all of the actions taken to promote the smooth functioning of markets and the flow of credit to households and businesses but preferred to reduce the target range for the federal funds rate to 1/2 to 3/4 percent at this meeting.

In a related set of actions to support the credit needs of households and businesses, the Federal Reserve announced measures related to the discount window, intraday credit, bank capital and liquidity buffers, reserve requirements, and—in coordination with other central banks—the U.S. dollar liquidity swap line arrangements. More information can be found on the Federal Reserve Board’s website.


“‘Things will get worse before they get better’: Dr. Anthony Fauci | ABC News”

Coronavirus: New Restrictions in Spain; France; US; Denmark; Poland; Russia; Europe Now Epicenter; Spreading in Africa

Mining Awareness +

Coronavirus Outbreak
Spain Plans Two-week Lockdown to Fight COVID-19
By VOA News
Updated March 14, 2020 08:49 PM
Spain announced Saturday that it would severely limit the movements of its 46 million people to try to contain the coronavirus pandemic spreading in Europe.

Madrid said it would employ steps similar to those Italy took in locking down its country for two weeks.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in announcing the measures, said that starting immediately, residents would be allowed to leave their homes only to buy food or medicine, to go to work, to find medical care or to help care for the young or elderly.

Hours after the announcement, Sanchez’s office announced his wife, Begona Gomez, had tested positive for the virus.

Spanish officials said that as of Saturday, there were more than 5,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, an increase of 1,500 in 24 hours. The…

View original post 1,233 more words

Coronavirus Dashboard Live Updates




Unfortunately we have to bring up the current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)

We had a number of local vets and even some globally contact us asked if we can once again spread the word that there is no confirmed risk of catching (COVID-19) from our beloved pet companions.


via COVID-19 and Pets? – Katzenworld

COVID-19 and Pets? – Katzenworld

Update on COVID 19 numbers from the Pennsylvania Health Department

Diver Spots A Pink Manta Ray So Rare He Thinks His Camera Is Broken

Lily Feinn

Kristian Laine was free diving near Lady Elliot Island in Australia, hoping to get a few good photos of the diverse sea creatures who call the Great Barrier Reef home.

He had no idea that he was about to get the luckiest shot a photographer could ask for.
Pink manta ray spotted off Lady Elliot Island
Kristian Laine

Laine spotted six male manta rays chasing a female, known as a manta train, so he held his breath and dove down. Looking through the viewfinder of his camera, he focused on something unusual. One of the mantas leading the chase wasn’t black or white — he was bright pink.

“I was looking through the viewfinder and locked eyes with it,” Laine told The Dodo. “Only when I fired my strobes to take a photo I noticed its pink color. I had no idea there were any pink mantas in the world so I was confused and thought my strobes were broken or doing something weird.”
Pink manta ray named Inspector Clouseau

Laine was pretty sure that his camera was malfunctioning, but he decided to follow the train and snap a few more shots of the special ray. And the rosy manta didn’t seem to mind the attention: “He was extremely calm,” Laine said. “I remember looking into its eyes and it was almost like he was smiling or at least very friendly.”

The whole interaction only lasted about a half hour but would change Laine’s life forever. “I felt a connection there,” he added.

When Laine returned to land, he came across a photo of the area’s most famous and reclusive inhabitant — a bubblegum pink manta named Inspector Clouseau.

“I rushed back to check in my camera,” Laine said. “My jaw dropped when I realized what I had just witnessed.

Pink manta ray spotted in Australia
Kristian Laine

Inspector Clouseau was first spotted in 2015, sparking debates as to what exactly gives him his rosy hue. A skin biopsy of the ray in 2016 ruled out any infection or irregularities in diet causing the color, National Geographic reported.

Scientists’ current theory is that the color is caused by a rare genetic mutation, such as erythrism, which causes an abnormal redness in an animal’s skin, fur or feathers, according to National Geographic. Or, in this case, a pinkness.

Pink manta ray pursuing a mate
Kristian Laine

The 11-foot manta seems to be doing just fine, despite standing out from the crowd. And if he’s successful in his courtship, we may see more pink mantas in the next few years.

But for now, Inspector Clouseau is wowing the world — one diver at a time. “It’s pretty humbling and I feel extremely lucky,” Laine said. “It was a pretty special day for me.”


Photographer captures beautiful images of polar bears playing in flower fields

When we think of polar bears, we automatically picture them in the Arctic, surrounded by snowy and icy landscapes. This image has been deeply ingrained in our minds that it’s hard to imagine these furry giants in any other environment.

Dennis Fast

The North experiences changing seasons, too. And as summer arrives, polar bears come out and start having their fun. Luckily, wildlife and nature photographer Dennis Fast captured these beautiful moments for the world to see. He was staying in the lodges operated by Churchill Wild in Manitoba, Canada, when he took the incredibly rare images.

In the pictures, the polar bears in Northern Canada’s Hudson Bay are seen rolling around the brightly colored fields of fireweed. When they’re not in the mood for play, the bears are content just lounging and napping in the pink fields, as if they, too, were savoring the warmth of the summer. Some of the most adorable shots feature one polar bear with his head poking out a sea of pink flowers!

Dennis Fast

It’s amazing to see the silly antics they get themselves into once the sun comes out. Their cute appearance almost makes us forget that they can attack humans when they’re approached the wrong way!

In an interview with Modern Met, Dennis shared why polar bears are his most beloved subjects.

“[I] t’s not just their color that makes them a favorite target of my camera,” he said. “They have a slow, ambling gait as they drift about looking for anything that moves. It looks like they don’t have a care in the world and that there is nothing they are afraid of. It’s not arrogance, exactly, but a quiet confidence that we often respect in humans, and that translates well to the polar bear.”

Dennis Fast

Once early autumn arrives, the polar bears will wait for the ice to reform in the bay so they can go back to their winter hunting grounds. In the meantime, they get the chance to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine and these blossoming fields!

Scroll through the gallery below to see more of this Canadian photographer’s rare shots of polar bears enjoying the summer.

Dennis Fast

Dennis Fast

Dennis Fast

Dennis Fast

Dennis Fast

Dennis Fast
Check out Dennis Fast’s books Princess: A Special Polar Bear, Touch the Arctic, Wapusk: White Bear of the North, and The Land Where the Sky Begins to see more of his brilliant work.


‘I have nothing, but I’m still human’: COVID-19 poses challenges to the homeless

“If they have to close the homeless shelters, I don’t know what we’re going to do. I have nothing, but I’m still human. I just hope we can have a place to sleep.”

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Tim Beck sat with his lifelong friend and ate pizza in Friday afternoon’s warm sunshine.

The 57-year-old Beck and his buddy — also 57, and a military veteran — had just stocked up on some food inside King’s Harvest Ministries’ shelter on 3rd Street in Davenport. Both men are homeless. And both said they have become increasingly apprehensive as they hear news about the spread of COVID-19.

“They’re closing down lots of places, lots of events — I heard that,” Beck said. “They can close down all the basketball games. But if they have to close the homeless shelters, I don’t know what we’re going to do.

“I have nothing, but I’m still human. I just hope we can have a place to sleep.”

Humility of Mary homeless shelter and the King’s Harvest Ministries shelter, which handles nightly overflow from Humility, will continue to provide overnight housing for the homeless. Humility has been sheltering 70 people per night, while King’s Harvest has been at 60 per night.

Both are at capacity.

While the shelters will remain open, changes have been made to routines at two Davenport food pantries.

Cafe on Vine announced Friday it will temporarily close its dining hall. The free-meals fixture at 932 W. 6th St. will only offer to-go meals served from the kitchen’s back door.

“Cafe on Vine wants to be available to anyone in need of a meal,” said Waunita Sullivan, the executive director of Cafe on Vine. “Due to a confined dining hall and the close proximity of human contact, the closure will decrease exposure of COVID-19 to guests, volunteers, and personnel.”

Starting Monday, the meals served daily at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church on 417 N. Main St. will be distributed as carry-outs only.

“We thought what Cafe on Vine decided to do made a lot of sense, and it was something we decided to do because we have a very small, enclosed dining area,” said John Cooper, the pastoral associate at St. Anthony’s.

“We just want to take extra precautions,” Cooper added. “We do have an area with picnic tables where we will invite people to sit out in the fresh air if they want to sit down.”

While Cafe on Vine and St. Anthony’s were making decisions, The Hunger Housing Health Task Force met Friday morning to plan strategies for dealing with the threat of COVID-19. During the meeting, it was decided to cancel a homeless retreat planned for this weekend.

Cooper attended Friday’s meeting.

“We had to cancel the retreat, and we talked a lot about trying to keep people out of confined spaces if at all possible,” Cooper said. “After a homeless person spends a night at Humility, they typically go to the community room, then the food pantry, then on to a library, or a bus stop, or they just walk around.”

Humility is a 24-hour facility for those individuals enrolled. Ashley Velez, Humility’s executive director, said the shelter has asked volunteers to stop showing up, and the facility’s drop-in center is closed to anyone not staying overnight.

According to Frank Shinn, keeping surfaces and hands clean is the “top priority” at King’s Harvest. He and his wife, Elle, run its meal program.

“Honestly, that’s the top priority all the time,” Shinn said. “But we have kind of doubled our efforts to talk about washing and trying to keep clean.”

Beck said he is dealing with even more anxieties since COVID-19 reared up as a health threat.

“I want a job,” he said. “I want to get out of here. This coronavirus stuff is another thing to make you feel like you don’t have any control over anything.

“You never wanna get sick out here. Especially now, I guess.”