The power came back on for most Texans after a horrifying week brought to you by liberalism where millions of Lone Star state residents saw extended outages when the Texas power grid couldn’t hold up to harsh winter storms.
As if that wasn’t enough now a second crisis is hitting many Texans in the form of gigantic electric bills some say they can’t possibly in a million years be able to pay. So far, the highest noted bill for one resident came in at $17,000, for the month as of Thursday.
Jason Wheeler, a reporter for KHOU-TV has been covering the problems Texans are facing who are under variable or indexed (by market rate) payment plans for their power bills. Most electric customer’s bills are set at a fixed rate, but the variable-type plans fluctuate. Normally, customers would take advantage of rates going down with the risk that rates could slightly go up. Well, for them the costs went up and there was nothing slight about it.
Wheeler reported that just over the past few days, the wholesale cost of one megawatt of power went from around $50 to $9,000, and that caused residential customers with non-fixed plans to get skyrocketing bills far that go beyond anything they could ever afford.
After asking for Texans who received crazy bills to send them to him, Wheeler said they just poured in. One person showed they paid just $88 last month for their electric bill and just received a bill close to $2,550 for a 990 sq ft apartment. Someone else said his daughter’s electric bill was usually around $50 a month and her bill just shot up close to $1,900.
Ty Williams who pays for electricity for his home, a guest house, and an office normally totals at about $600. This time his bill went to a whopping $17,000.
“How in the world can anyone pay that?” Williams told KHOU. “I mean you go from a couple hundred dollars a month…there’s absolutely no way. It makes no sense.”
In the meantime, other power companies are refusing to take on new customers for people who want to switch as they are trying to work on servicing their current customers during the chaos going on in the state.
A lot of customers are angry that they are facing these sky-high electric bills when they haven’t had power on in their homes for the past week. Some folks are asking how the racked-up bills aren’t considered price gouging. I would say because they were on that variable or index rate plan and that’s what the cost went up to when the ice hit the windmill. See what I did there?
Without electricity, there was no heat for a lot of homes, and in the kind of frozen weather Texas received recently a lot of homes’ water pipes burst to cause all kinds of damage. Disaster recovery services are not cheap either.
One person responded to Wheeler’s tweet about the situation.
“Talk about kicking us when we’re down… I’m afraid to see what my bill is going to be. So freaking mad about this $*it. I’m already afraid to see what they’re gonna do with my water bill after having to keep our taps dripping for almost a week now.”
More had things to say about what they’re going through.
“When my power came back on Wed the heater was blowing cold air then the fire sprinkler pipe burst the next day. I have renters insurance but what are my options? My apt is not getting warmed and kitchen living room ruined. Also will my bill electric skyrocket?”
Yesterday, Cloris Leachman passed away peacefully in her sleep at age 94. Cloris was an Academy Award-winning actress and a comedic genius. I was friends with Cloris for many years, and there was a side to Cloris that not a lot of people knew – her great kindness and compassion towards animals. She was a fearless animal advocate and showed up on behalf of the animals and LCA on numerous occasions. In the 1980’s, Cloris was LCA’s first President.
She will be very sorely missed. She was a great friend to me, to the animals, and to LCA.
CORRECTED ARTICLE: The official cause of death for George Floyd is related to the pressure applied by Derek Chauvin, to his neck. This article is merely speculation based on possible findings in the official autopsy. We are in no way trying to say that drugs or other conditions during the apprehension was the cause of Mr. Floyd’s death.
Some people are saying George Floyd’s respiratory crisis was caused by the Fentanyl he had ingested before the police showed up on the scene. Is that true? We are not sure, but it brings up some very concerning scenarios.
The unnecessary and abusive conduct, I believe, of Derek Chauvin, who kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck when already subdued, is probably guilty of violating police force procedures, and perhaps not of causing the death of the at least 5 times incarcerated George Floyd. But we still do not really know. We should allow all the evidence to come out, for a fair trial to be conducted, and if found guilty, fair sentencing by the judge.
From Gateway Pundit
It Now Looks Like George Floyd, Not Derek Chauvin, Killed George Floyd
The transcript from the body camera worn by J. Alexander Kueng shows evidence that George Floyd was suffering respiratory distress before the police laid hands on him. The Pundit claimed he died from a Fentanyl overdose, not from being choked out by Minneapolis police. This news will not bring joy to the crazed, leftist mob screaming to lop off the heads of the Minneapolis police officers who stand accused of “murdering” George Floyd.
Once you read the transcript you will understand why the Minnesota Attorney General seemed to withhold the video evidence from the public and why the defense attorneys are trying to get the information out–it exonerates the police.
The incident starts with a store manager reporting that George Floyd had just given him a counterfeit bill.
The transcript of Officer Kueng’s body cam gives us a better picture of what happened prior to the video, we all saw. In the end, we should want justice, if Mr. Floyd died from a drug-induced heart attack, or from suffocation from Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck, the punishment must fit the crime, not what people think it was.
East Lampeter Township Police are asking anyone who may have been traveling on the roads near where Linda Stoltzfoos was last seen on June 21 to call them. Author: Keith Schweigert (FOX43), Harri Leigh (FOX43) Published: 8:49 PM EDT June 29, 2020
BIRD IN HAND, Pa. — As they continue to search for an 18-year-old Amish woman who went missing on June 21, police in Lancaster County are seeking help from any bikers, drivers, or walkers who may have been in the area at the time she disappeared.
“The idea or the point behind people contacting the police is to allow us to speak to them in case there were any sort of suspicious activities or things that they may have observed that they may not have initially thought were important,” said Lt. Matthew Hess of the East Lampeter Township Police Department. null
Linda Stoltzfoos was last seen at church services at a farm on Stumptown Road near Bird-in-Hand on the morning of Sunday, June 21, according to East Lampeter Township Police. She never returned home.
The search for her has entered its second week.
Stoltzfus is described as a white woman, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 125 pounds. She was wearing a tan dress, white apron, and a white cape, police say.
Police are asking anyone who may have been traveling on the following roads between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on June 21 to contact them at (717) 291-4676:
Verizon is the latest corporate business to bow to the mob and boycott advertising on Facebook and Instagram—-an apparent attempt to be extra woke.
The wireless carrier joins Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, The North Face, REI and others in the “#StopHateForProfit” campaign, a movement aimed at pressuring social media companies to restrict certain speech.
“We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action,” Verizon’s John Nitti said. “We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners.”
The “#StopHateForProfit” campaign was started by far-left groups claiming Facebook “turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression on their platform.”
The group, led by the Anti-Defamation League, the Color of Change and the NAACP are outraged that, among other things, Facebook labeled Breitbart News a “trusted news source” and made The Daily Caller a “fact checker.”
The Color of Change website states: “From the monetization of hate speech to discrimination in their algorithms to the proliferation of voter suppression to the silencing of Black voices, Facebook has refused to take responsibility for hate, bias, and discrimination growing on their platforms. And what has allowed Facebook to continue racist practices is the $70B of revenue from corporations every year. Companies have a choice to make about whether they want their businesses featured on Facebook’s platforms side-by-side with racist attacks on Black people.”
An official website of the United States government
Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, June 25, 2020
A Houston pharmacist and his wife were sentenced today for their roles in an approximately $21.8 million Department of Labor (DOL) – Office of Workers Compensation Programs and Federal Employees Compensation Act fraud scheme.
George Philip Tompkins, 75, of Houston, Texas, the self-proclaimed “Compound King” and former owner of Piney Point Pharmacy, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Marene Kathryn Tompkins, 68, also of Houston, the former vice president of Piney Point Pharmacy, was sentenced to 30 days of home confinement and three years of supervised release. Both were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake of the Southern District of Texas, who presided over the trial of George Thompkins and the guilty plea of Marene Tompkins. Judge Lake also ordered George Tompkins to pay $12,300,381.36 in restitution (and forfeiture) and Marene Tompkins to pay $950,745.10 in restitution (and forfeiture).
On March 10, 2020, after a six-day trial, George Tompkins was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, 11 counts of health care fraud, and three counts of wire fraud. Kathryn Tompkins pleaded guilty on Jan. 3, 2020, to one count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks.
According to the evidence at trial, George Tompkins and others billed the DOL approximately $21.8 million for medically unnecessary compound gels and creams that were predicated on illegal kickback payments. George Tompkins and Anoop Chaturvedi, 48, a legal permanent resident from India who remains a fugitive on related charges, created the scheme to generate compounded pain cream prescriptions and bill health care programs for injured state and federal employees. George Tompkins and Chaturvedi used separate entities—including George Tompkins’s company, Wellington Advisors—to receive and launder the proceeds of their crimes. Further evidence presented at trial showed that George Tompkins sought to disguise illicit kickback payments as legitimate “marketing” expenses and continued to ship patients compound gels and creams even after patients repeatedly complained they did not want them.
Marene Tompkins pleaded guilty before trial. As part of her guilty plea, she admitted that she conspired with her husband and others to pay illegal kickbacks as part of the scheme.
George and Marene Tompkins were charged in a superseding indictment in November 2018 along with Chaturvedi. Chaturvedi is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest in connection with the charges. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the U.S. Postal Service – Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG) at 1-888-877-7644.
A federal criminal indictment is merely an accusation. Chaturvedi is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
USPS-OIG, DOL-OIG, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security-OIG, and Department of Veterans Affairs-OIG, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger charged the case and, with Trial Attorneys Leslie Garthwaite and Devon Helfmeyer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, provided substantial assistance in its prosecution. Trial Attorneys Drew Pennebaker and Sara Clingan of the Fraud Section tried the case and continue to prosecute it.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion. In addition, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
Sightings of the Asian giant hornet have prompted fears that the vicious insect could establish itself in the United States and devastate bee populations.
May 2, 2020Updated 8:05 p.m. ET
BLAINE, Wash. — In his decades of beekeeping, Ted McFall had never seen anything like it.
As he pulled his truck up to check on a group of hives near Custer, Wash., in November, he could spot from the window a mess of bee carcasses on the ground. As he looked closer, he saw a pile of dead members of the colony in front of a hive and more carnage inside — thousands and thousands of bees with their heads torn from their bodies and no sign of a culprit.
“I couldn’t wrap my head around what could have done that,” Mr. McFall said.
Only later did he come to suspect that the killer was what some researchers simply call the “murder hornet.”
With queens that can grow to two inches long, Asian giant hornets can use mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins to wipe out a honeybee hive in a matter of hours, decapitating the bees and flying away with the thoraxes to feed their young. For larger targets, the hornet’s potent venom and stinger — long enough to puncture a beekeeping suit — make for an excruciating combination that victims have likened to hot metal driving into their skin.
In Japan, the hornets kill up to 50 people a year. Now, for the first time, they have arrived in the United States.
Mr. McFall still is not certain that Asian giant hornets were responsible for the plunder of his hive. But two of the predatory insects were discovered last fall in the northwest corner of Washington State, a few miles north of his property — the first sightings in the United States.
Scientists have since embarked on a full-scale hunt for the hornets, worried that the invaders could decimate bee populations in the United States and establish such a deep presence that all hope for eradication could be lost.
“This is our window to keep it from establishing,” said Chris Looney, an entomologist at the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “If we can’t do it in the next couple of years, it probably can’t be done.”
On a cold morning in early December, two and a half miles to the north of Mr. McFall’s property, Jeff Kornelis stepped on his front porch with his terrier-mix dog. He looked down to a jarring sight: “It was the biggest hornet I’d ever seen.”
The insect was dead, and after inspecting it, Mr. Kornelis had a hunch that it might be an Asian giant hornet. It did not make much sense, given his location in the world, but he had seen an episode of the YouTube personality Coyote Peterson getting a brutal sting from one of the hornets.
Beyond its size, the hornet has a distinctive look, with a cartoonishly fierce face featuring teardrop eyes like Spider-Man, orange and black stripes that extend down its body like a tiger, and broad, wispy wings like a small dragonfly.
Mr. Kornelis contacted the state, which came out to confirm that it was indeed an Asian giant hornet. Soon after, they learned that a local beekeeper in the area had also found one of the hornets.
Dr. Looney said it was immediately clear that the state faced a serious problem, but with only two insects in hand and winter coming on, it was nearly impossible to determine how much the hornet had already made itself at home.
Over the winter, state agriculture biologists and local beekeepers got to work, preparing for the coming season. Ruthie Danielsen, a beekeeper who has helped organize her peers to combat the hornet, unfurled a map across the hood of her vehicle, noting the places across Whatcom County where beekeepers have placed traps.
“Most people are scared to get stung by them,” Ms. Danielsen said. “We’re scared that they are going to totally destroy our hives.”
Adding to the uncertainty — and mystery — were some other discoveries of the Asian giant hornet across the border in Canada.
In November, a single hornet was seen in White Rock, British Columbia, perhaps 10 miles away from the discoveries in Washington State — likely too far for the hornets to be part of the same colony. Even earlier, there had been a hive discovered on Vancouver Island, across a strait that probably was too wide for a hornet to have crossed from the mainland.
Crews were able to track down the hive on Vancouver Island. Conrad Bérubé, a beekeeper and entomologist in the town of Nanaimo, was assigned to exterminate it.
He set out at night, when the hornets would be in their nest. He put on shorts and thick sweatpants, then his bee suit. He donned Kevlar braces on his ankles and wrists.
But as he approached the hive, he said, the rustling of the brush and the shine of his flashlight awakened the colony. Before he had a chance to douse the nest with carbon dioxide, he felt the first searing stabs in his leg — through the bee suit and underlying sweatpants.
“It was like having red-hot thumbtacks being driven into my flesh,” he said. He ended up getting stung at least seven times, some of the stings drawing blood.
Jun-ichi Takahashi, a researcher at Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan, said the species had earned the “murder hornet” nickname there because its aggressive group attacks can expose victims to doses of toxic venom equivalent to that of a venomous snake; a series of stings can be fatal.
The night he got stung, Mr. Bérubé still managed to eliminate the nest and collect samples, but the next day, his legs were aching, as if he had the flu. Of the thousands of times he has been stung in his lifetime of work, he said, the Asian giant hornet stings were the most painful.
After collecting the hornet in the Blaine area, state officials took off part of a leg and shipped it to an expert in Japan. A sample from the Nanaimo nest was sent as well.
A genetic examination, concluded over the past few weeks, determined that the nest in Nanaimo and the hornet near Blaine were not connected, said Telissa Wilson, a state pest biologist, meaning there had probably been at least two different introductions in the region.
Dr. Looney went out on a recent day in Blaine, carrying clear jugs that had been made into makeshift traps; typical wasp and bee traps available for purchase have holes too small for the Asian giant hornet. He filled some with orange juice mixed with rice wine, others had kefir mixed with water, and a third batch was filled with some experimental lures — all with the hope of catching a queen emerging to look for a place to build a nest.
He hung them from trees, geo-tagging each location with his phone.
In a region with extensive wooded habitats for hornets to establish homes, the task of finding and eliminating them is daunting. How to find dens that may be hidden underground? And where to look, given that one of the queens can fly many miles a day, at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour?
The miles of wooded landscapes and mild, wet climate of western Washington State makes for an ideal location for the hornets to spread.
In the coming months, Mr. Looney said, he and others plan to place hundreds more traps. State officials have mapped out the plan in a grid, starting in Blaine and moving outward.
The buzz of activity inside a nest of Asian giant hornets can keep the inside temperature up to 86 degrees, so the trackers are also exploring using thermal imaging to examine the forest floors. Later, they may also try other advanced tools that could track the signature hum the hornets make in flight.
If a hornet does get caught in a trap, Dr. Looney said, there are plans to possibly use radio-frequency identification tags to monitor where it goes — or simply attach a small streamer and then follow the hornet as it returns to its nest.
While most bees would be unable to fly with a disruptive marker attached, that is not the case with the Asian giant hornet. It is big enough to handle the extra load.
The three-year NIH/NIAID award will initially study three species of nonhuman primates to determine which most closely mimics COVID-19 infection and transmission as experienced by humans. A nonhuman primate model will provide key information about the characteristics of the disease and will help researchers determine which candidate COVID-19 vaccines and treatments are safe and effective.
A nonhuman primate model also helps researchers understand which underlying health conditions, or comorbidities, can make some people more susceptible to complications from the disease.
“The range of biological responses to COVID-19 is incredibly wide,” said lead investigator Chad Roy, professor of microbiology and immunology in the Tulane University School of Medicine and director of infectious disease aerobiology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center. “We know relatively little about the intricacies of the disease — like why some infections result in mild disease, while others experience severe complications or death.”
Once a reliable nonhuman primate model of disease has been established, Tulane researchers will then test promising vaccines and therapeutics for safety and effectiveness before promoting them for use in human clinical trials.
“We will be a primary site for evaluating the nation’s leading medical countermeasures against COVID-19,” Roy said. “Receiving this award is a testament to the unique capabilities of the Tulane National Primate Research Center and the international reputation of Tulane University as a leader in infectious disease research.”
Harvard University will receive nearly $9 million in aid from the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the Department of Education announced last week.
The CARES Act — the largest economic stimulus package in American history — was signed into law on March 27. It allocates nearly $14 billion to support higher education institutions during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Of the $8,655,748 Harvard is slated to receive, the government has mandated that at least half — $4,327,874 — be reserved for emergency financial aid grants to students.
The Department of Education will distribute the first $6.28 billion to colleges and universities to cover expenses such as course materials, technology, food, and housing students have incurred “related to disruptions in their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak,” according to a April 9 press release.
The Department of Education is requiring universities to sign a certification agreeing to the conditions of use before they can access the funding, but each school may allocate the financial aid funds at their own discretion.
The Department of Education allocated most of the $14 billion in funds based on two factors: the share of recipients of federal Pell Grants, and overall undergraduate and graduate enrollment numbers. It weighted the proportion of Pell Grant recipients as a factor at 75 percent, while enrollment was weighted at 25 percent.
As a result, the top 20 colleges which received the most funding are all public colleges and universities with enrollments in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Arizona State University received the largest relief package of any institution in the nation, netting more than $63 million.
Harvard’s aid package is the third-largest of the Ivy League universities’. Columbia University and Cornell University will receive the largest awards, at $12.8 million each. Yale University will receive nearly $7 million, and Princeton University will net around $2.5 million.
In an April 9 letter to college and university presidents, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos encouraged administrators to set a maximum amount for individual student aid grants.Advertisement
“I would like to encourage the leadership of each institution to prioritize your students with the greatest need, but at the same time consider establishing a maximum funding threshold for each student to ensure that these funds are distributed as widely as possible,” DeVos wrote.
DaVos also wrote that the Department of Education is “working expeditiously to allocate the remaining funding that is reserved for institutional use.”
In addition to aid to colleges and universities, the CARES Act included student loan relief and other provisions aimed at alleviating students’ financial hardship.
Experts say that Harvard will likely continue to face “grave” financial consequences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
University administrators announced salary and hiring freezes, discretionary spending reductions, leadership salary cuts, and the potential deferral of capital projects in an email to Harvard affiliates Monday.
All three were journalists and were allegedly determined to expose anything they could about the origins and handling of the pandemic in China. “Their popular accounts on YouTube – which is banned in mainland China” have “all gone quiet.” There has been no comment from Chinese authorities, but it does not take much to speculate the journalists’ fates.
Fang Bin, also a businessman in Wuhan “disappeared after releasing a video claiming to show a pile of bodies in a minibus outside a hospital” and “medics in hazmat suits attempting to treat patients as others wait moaning in pain” reported Metro. In the footage, Fang also asks the medics, “so many people just died? When did this happen? Yesterday? There are so many bodies.” After the video was shared on twitter, Fang said officers “barged into his home and took him away after he posted the video on February 1.” He was released but has not been heard from after a February 9 post which read, “all people revolt – hand the power of the government back to the people.”
Chen Qiushi, a 34-year-old human rights lawyer “turned video journalist who arrived in Wuhan before the city went into lockdown” has also disappeared. Chen, who has not been heard from since February 6thand also covered the Hong Kong protests, released a video on his YouTube channel in which he said, “I will use my camera to document what is really happening. I promise I won’t cover up the truth.”
25-year-old journalist Li Zehua once worked for CCTV, the state broadcaster, but was reporting from Wuhan “independently.” Just last week a new theory unearthed that the pandemic began because the virus was built in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Radio Free Asia (RFA) claims Li Zehua was “targeted” after visiting the Institute.New 750mg CBD Gummy Erases Pain & Anxiety 5xs Better Than HempHealth Repair
United States Congressman Jim Banks has called for an investigation into the disappearance of the three Chinese citizens. “All three of these men understood the personal risk associated with independently reporting on coronavirus in China, but they did it anyway,” wrote Banks, concerned that China has “imprisoned them – or worse.”
The Comprehensive Timeline of China’s COVID-19 Lies | National Review By Jim Geraghty March 23, 2020 9:13 AM 16-21 minutes
On today’s menu: a day-by-day, month-by-month breakdown of China’s coronavirus coverup and the irreparable damage it has caused around the globe. The Timeline of a Viral Ticking Time Bomb The story of the coronavirus pandemic is still being written. But at this early date, we can see all kinds of moments where different decisions could have lessened the severity of the outbreak we are currently enduring. You have probably heard variations of: “Chinese authorities denied that the virus could be transferred from human to human until it was too late.”
What you have probably not heard is how emphatically, loudly, and repeatedly the Chinese government insisted human transmission was impossible, long after doctors in Wuhan had concluded human transmission was ongoing — and how the World Health Organization assented to that conclusion, despite the suspicions of other outside health experts. Clearly, the U.S. government’s response to this threat was not nearly robust enough, and not enacted anywhere near quickly enough. Most European governments weren’t prepared either. Few governments around the world were or are prepared for the scale of the danger. We can only wonder whether accurate and timely information from China would have altered the way the U.S. government, the American people, and the world prepared for the oncoming danger of infection.
Some point in late 2019: The coronavirus jumps from some animal species to a human being. The best guess at this point is that it happened at a Chinese “wet market.”
December 6: According to a study in The Lancet, the symptom onset date of the first patient identified was “Dec 1, 2019 . . . 5 days after illness onset, his wife, a 53-year-old woman who had no known history of exposure to the market, also presented with pneumonia and was hospitalized in the isolation ward.” In other words, as early as the second week of December, Wuhan doctors were finding cases that indicated the virus was spreading from one human to another.
December 21: Wuhan doctors begin to notice a “cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause.” December 25: Chinese medical staff in two hospitals in Wuhan are suspected of contracting viral pneumonia and are quarantined. This is additional strong evidence of human-to-human transmission. Sometime in “Late December”: Wuhan hospitals notice “an exponential increase” in the number of cases that cannot be linked back to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. December 30: Dr. Li Wenliang sent a message to a group of other doctors warning them about a possible outbreak of an illness that resembled severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), urging them to take protective measures against infection.
December 31: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission declares, “The investigation so far has not found any obvious human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infection.” This is the opposite of the belief of the doctors working on patients in Wuhan, and two doctors were already suspected of contracting the virus. Three weeks after doctors first started noticing the cases, China contacts the World Health Organization. Tao Lina, a public-health expert and former official with Shanghai’s center for disease control and prevention, tells the South China Morning Post, “I think we are [now] quite capable of killing it in the beginning phase, given China’s disease control system, emergency handling capacity and clinical medicine support.”
January 1: The Wuhan Public Security Bureau issued summons to Dr. Li Wenliang, accusing him of “spreading rumors.” Two days later, at a police station, Dr. Li signed a statement acknowledging his “misdemeanor” and promising not to commit further “unlawful acts.” Seven other people are arrested on similar charges and their fate is unknown. Also that day, “after several batches of genome sequence results had been returned to hospitals and submitted to health authorities, an employee of one genomics company received a phone call from an official at the Hubei Provincial Health Commission, ordering the company to stop testing samples from Wuhan related to the new disease and destroy all existing samples.”
According to a New York Times study of cellphone data from China, 175,000 people leave Wuhan that day. According to global travel data research firm OAG, 21 countries have direct flights to Wuhan. In the first quarter of 2019 for comparison, 13,267 air passengers traveled from Wuhan, China, to destinations in the United States, or about 4,422 per month. The U.S. government would not bar foreign nationals who had traveled to China from entering the country for another month.
January 2: One study of patients in Wuhan can only connect 27 of 41 infected patients to exposure to the Huanan seafood market — indicating human-to-human transmission away from the market. A report written later that month concludes, “evidence so far indicates human transmission for 2019-nCoV. We are concerned that 2019-nCoV could have acquired the ability for efficient human transmission.” Also on this day, the Wuhan Institute of Virology completed mapped the genome of the virus. The Chinese government would not announce that breakthrough for another week.
January 3: The Chinese government continued efforts to suppress all information about the virus: “China’s National Health Commission, the nation’s top health authority, ordered institutions not to publish any information related to the unknown disease, and ordered labs to transfer any samples they had to designated testing institutions, or to destroy them.” Roughly one month after the first cases in Wuhan, the United States government is notified. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gets initial reports about a new coronavirus from Chinese colleagues, according to Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar. Azar, who helped manage the response at HHS to earlier SARS and anthrax outbreaks, told his chief of staff to make sure the National Security Council was informed. Also on this day, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission released another statement, repeating, “As of now, preliminary investigations have shown no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infections.” January 4: While Chinese authorities continued to insist that the virus could not spread from one person to another, doctors outside that country weren’t so convinced. The head of the University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Infection, Ho Pak-leung, warned that “the city should implement the strictest possible monitoring system for a mystery new viral pneumonia that has infected dozens of people on the mainland, as it is highly possible that the illness is spreading from human to human.”
January 5: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission put out a statement with updated numbers of cases but repeated, “preliminary investigations have shown no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infections.” January 6: The New York Times publishes its first report about the virus, declaring that “59 people in the central city of Wuhan have been sickened by a pneumonia-like illness.” That first report included these comments: Wang Linfa, an expert on emerging infectious diseases at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, said he was frustrated that scientists in China were not allowed to speak to him about the outbreak. Dr. Wang said, however, that he thought the virus was likely not spreading from humans to humans because health workers had not contracted the disease. “We should not go into panic mode,” he said. Don’t get too mad at Wang Linfa; he was making that assessment based upon the inaccurate information Chinese government was telling the world. Also that day, the CDC “issued a level 1 travel watch — the lowest of its three levels — for China’s outbreak. It said the cause and the transmission mode aren’t yet known, and it advised travelers to Wuhan to avoid living or dead animals, animal markets, and contact with sick people.” Also that day, the CDC offered to send a team to China to assist with the investigation. The Chinese government declined, but a WHO team that included two Americans would visit February 16. January 8: Chinese medical authorities claim to have identified the virus. Those authorities claim and Western media continue to repeat, “there is no evidence that the new virus is readily spread by humans, which would make it particularly dangerous, and it has not been tied to any deaths.” The official statement from the World Health Organization declares, “Preliminary identification of a novel virus in a short period of time is a notable achievement and demonstrates China’s increased capacity to manage new outbreaks . . . WHO does not recommend any specific measures for travelers. WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on China based on the information currently available.”
January 10: After unknowingly treating a patient with the Wuhan coronavirus, Dr. Li Wenliang started coughing and developed a fever. He was hospitalized on January 12. In the following days, Li’s condition deteriorated so badly that he was admitted to the intensive care unit and given oxygen support. The New York Times quotes the Wuhan City Health Commission’s declaration that “there is no evidence the virus can spread among humans.” Chinese doctors continued to find transmission among family members, contradicting the official statements from the city health commission. January 11: The Wuhan City Health Commission issues an update declaring, “All 739 close contacts, including 419 medical staff, have undergone medical observation and no related cases have been found . . . No new cases have been detected since January 3, 2020.
At present, no medical staff infections have been found, and no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found.” They issue a Q&A sheet later that day reemphasizing that “most of the unexplained viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan this time have a history of exposure to the South China seafood market. No clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found.” Also on this day, political leaders in Hubei province, which includes Wuhan, began their regional meeting. The coronavirus was not mentioned over four days of meetings. January 13: Authorities in Thailand detected the virus in a 61-year-old Chinese woman who was visiting from Wuhan, the first case outside of China. “Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, said the woman had not visited the Wuhan seafood market, and had come down with a fever on Jan. 5. However, the doctor said, the woman had visited a different, smaller market in Wuhan, in which live and freshly slaughtered animals were also sold.” January 14: Wuhan city health authorities release another statement declaring, “Among the close contacts, no related cases were found.” Wuhan doctors have known this was false since early December, from the first victim and his wife, who did not visit the market. The World Health Organization echoes China’s assessment: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.” This is five or six weeks after the first evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan. January 15: Japan reported its first case of coronavirus. Japan’s Health Ministry said the patient had not visited any seafood markets in China, adding that “it is possible that the patient had close contact with an unknown patient with lung inflammation while in China.” The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission begins to change its statements, now declaring, “Existing survey results show that clear human-to-human evidence has not been found, and the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out, but the risk of continued human-to-human transmission is low.” Recall Wuhan hospitals concluded human-to-human transmission was occurring three weeks earlier. A statement the next day backtracks on the possibility of human transmission, saying only, “Among the close contacts, no related cases were found.”
January 17: The CDC and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection announce that travelers from Wuhan to the United States will undergo entry screening for symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV at three U.S. airports that receive most of the travelers from Wuhan, China: San Francisco, New York (JFK), and Los Angeles airports. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission’s daily update declares, “A total of 763 close contacts have been tracked, 665 medical observations have been lifted, and 98 people are still receiving medical observations. Among the close contacts, no related cases were found.” January 18: HHS Secretary Azar has his first discussion about the virus with President Trump. Unnamed “senior administration officials” told the Washington Post that “the president interjected to ask about vaping and when flavored vaping products would be back on the market.” Despite the fact that Wuhan doctors know the virus is contagious, city authorities allow 40,000 families to gather and share home-cooked food in a Lunar New Year banquet.
January 19: The Chinese National Health Commission declares the virus “still preventable and controllable.” The World Health Organization updates its statement, declaring, “Not enough is known to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, the clinical features of the disease, the extent to which it has spread, or its source, which remains unknown.”
January 20: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission declares for the last time in its daily bulletin, “no related cases were found among the close contacts.” That day, the head of China’s national health commission team investigating the outbreak, confirmed that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong province had been caused by human-to-human transmission and medical staff had been infected. Also on this date, the Wuhan Evening News newspaper, the largest newspaper in the city, mentions the virus on the front page for the first time since January 5.
January 21: The CDC announced the first U.S. case of a the coronavirus in a Snohomish County, Wash., resident who returning from China six days earlier. By this point, millions of people have left Wuhan, carrying the virus all around China and into other countries. January 22: WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus continued to praise China’s handling of the outbreak. “I was very impressed by the detail and depth of China’s presentation. I also appreciate the cooperation of China’s Minister of Health, who I have spoken with directly during the last few days and weeks. His leadership and the intervention of President Xi and Premier Li have been invaluable, and all the measures they have taken to respond to the outbreak.” In the preceding days, a WHO delegation conducted a field visit to Wuhan. They concluded, “deployment of the new test kit nationally suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan.” The delegation reports, “their counterparts agreed close attention should be paid to hand and respiratory hygiene, food safety and avoiding mass gatherings where possible.” At a meeting of the WHO Emergency Committee, panel members express “divergent views on whether this event constitutes a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ or not. At that time, the advice was that the event did not constitute a PHEIC.” President Trump, in an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, declared, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
January 23: Chinese authorities announce their first steps for a quarantine of Wuhan. By this point, millions have already visited the city and left it during the Lunar New Year celebrations. Singapore and Vietnam report their first cases, and by now an unknown but significant number of Chinese citizens have traveled abroad as asymptomatic, oblivious carriers.
January 24: Vietnam reports person-to-person transmission, and Japan, South Korea, and the U.S report their second cases. The second case is in Chicago. Within two days, new cases are reported in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Arizona. The virus is in now in several locations in the United States, and the odds of preventing an outbreak are dwindling to zero.
On February 1, Dr. Li Wenliang tested positive for coronavirus. He died from it six days later. One final note: On February 4, Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella urged residents to hug Chinese people to encourage them in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, a member of Associazione Unione Giovani Italo Cinesi, a Chinese society in Italy aimed at promoting friendship between people in the two countries, called for respect for novel coronavirus patients during a street demonstration. “I’m not a virus. I’m a human. Eradicate the prejudice.”
ADDENDUM: We’ll get back to regular politics soon enough. In the meantime, note that Bernie Sanders held a virtual campaign event Sunday night “from Vermont, railing against the ongoing Senate coronavirus rescue bill. He skipped a key procedural vote on that bill.”
nation-world 7.5 magnitude earthquake off Russia prompts Hawaii tsunami watch The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said earthquakes of this strength in the past have caused tsunamis far from the epicenter. Author: Associated Press, TEGNA Published: 12:08 AM EDT March 25, 2020 MOSCOW, Russia —
We the people must be ever vigilant safeguarding our rights, freedoms and liberties 24 hours a day, 7 days a week protecting our life, liberty and sacred honor, for we are the Tea Party 247. Read on for today’s top stories… (Tea Party 247) – When there is a major world health crisis, the wealthy are exempt from following government-mandated protocols and restrictions. While the rest of us are being told to stop traveling and essentially hunker down at home for the next month, the world’s elites aren’t letting the coronavirus stop them from being where they need to be, when they need to be there. Instead of postponing trips until after the coronavirus frenzy calms down, the wealthy of the world are just flying private rather than commercial. Obviously, that’s the best way to go to places around the world where outbreaks may or may not be occurring while possibly carrying the virus themselves. According to the AFP, private jet demands are soaring: Fears of massive bankruptcies and calls for emergency bailouts have swept global carriers in recent days with one top US official warning that the outbreak threatens the industry even more than the September 11 attacks. But for Richard Zaher, CEO of a US-based private jet charter company, the emails and phone calls just keep coming. “Inquiries have gone through the roof,” he told AFP, noting his company Paramount Business Jets had seen a 400 percent increase in queries, with bookings up roughly 20-25 percent. “It is completely coronavirus,” he added. “We are seeing our regular private jet clients flying as they normally do. However, we have this surge of clients coming our way and the majority of them have never flown private.” Across the world airlines have been slashing capacity and passengers cancelling travel plans as countries block arrivals to stem the spread of COVID-19. ForwardKeys, a travel analytics company, estimates as many as 3.3 million seats on transatlantic flights alone are disappearing. Zaher said many new bookings were from clients who had emergencies and either could not find seats on commercial routes or did not want to risk them. One recent booking involved a woman who flew her elderly mother across the United States. “Her mum was on oxygen and needed to be flown coast to coast,” Zaher said. “They felt it was necessary to pay a premium in order to avoid flying commercial and to be together during this uncertain time.” A spokeswoman for Air Charter Service in Hong Kong told AFP they had seen a 70 percent increase in fixed bookings from the financial hub, Shanghai, and Beijing in January and February, and had recorded a 170 percent jump in new customers during the same period. “It is the kind of people who are wealthy enough but who would not necessarily charter, who are maybe chartering as a one-off,” said James Royds-Jones, Air Charter Service’s director of executive jets for Asia Pacific. Because when you’re wealthy, the world literally revolves around you. It’s so nice that they are taking the consideration to fly privately to possibly contract and/or spread the coronavirus that has gripped the world in panic and fear. If only people would just stay put, maybe the threat would end and we could all get back to our normal lives.
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Monday, March 9, 2020
Justice Department Wins Historic Arbitration of a Merger Dispute
Novelis Inc. Must Divest Assets to Consummate Transaction with Aleris Corporation
The Department of Justice prevailed in a first-of-a-kind arbitration, which will resolve a civil antitrust lawsuit challenging Novelis’s proposed merger with Aleris Corporation. As a result, Novelis must divest Aleris’s entire aluminum auto body sheet operations in North America, which will fully preserve competition in this important industry. In addition, under the terms of the arbitration agreement between defendants and the Department, Novelis must reimburse the Department for its fees and costs incurred in connection with the arbitration.
“Today’s decision is a victory for automakers and American consumers and taxpayers and will preserve competition in the market for aluminum auto body sheet,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “This first-of-its-kind arbitration proved to be an effective procedure for the streamlined adjudication of a dispositive issue in a merger challenge. As demonstrated in this case, arbitration has the potential to be a powerful dispute resolution tool in the right circumstances and I look forward to applying the learning from this case to future matters. I am very proud of the Division’s talented and dedicated team of lawyers, paralegals, and economists who pioneered this ground-breaking arbitration, representing the Division exceedingly well throughout these proceedings.”
On Sept. 4, 2019, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio seeking to block Novelis Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Aleris Corporation. Prior to filing the complaint, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division reached an agreement with defendants to refer the matter to binding arbitration if the parties were unable to resolve the United States’ competitive concerns with the defendants’ transaction within a certain period of time. Fact discovery proceeded under the supervision of the district court. Pursuant to the arbitration agreement, following the close of fact discovery, the matter was referred to binding arbitration to resolve the issue of product market definition. A ten-day arbitration hearing concluded last week, marking the first time the Antitrust Division has used its authority under the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 (5 U.S.C. § 571 et seq.) to resolve a matter.
Today, the arbitrator ruled for the United States, holding that aluminum auto body sheet constitutes a relevant product market, as the United States had alleged. Because the Department prevailed, the United States will file a proposed final judgment with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio that requires Novelis to divest Aleris’s entire aluminum ABS operations in North America to preserve competition in the relevant market. This arbitration procedure provided certainty and allowed the defendants to close their transaction subject to foreign regulatory review.
The Department thanks Kevin Arquit, a highly-respected and experienced antitrust lawyer and former Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, for serving as the arbitrator in this matter. The Department also thanks defendants’ legal team from Latham & Watkins, LLP and Fried Frank, and in particular, Dan Wall and the litigating team from Latham & Watkins, for their highly-skilled advocacy and professionalism.
Novelis is a Canadian corporation headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. It offers flat-rolled aluminum products in three segments: automotive, beverage can, and specialty products. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, Novelis’s revenues were approximately $12.3 billion. Novelis is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Ltd., an Indian company headquartered in Mumbai, India.
Aleris is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. It offers flat-rolled aluminum products to the automotive, aerospace, and building and construction industries, among others. In 2018, Aleris’s revenues were approximately $3.4 billion.
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With a few months to go before the new hurricane season begins this summer, piles of debris that are still sitting along the streets could turn deadly.
ABACO, The Bahamas — There are signs of recovery in the Abaco Islands, five months after Hurricane Dorian decimated this part of the Bahamas.
In Marsh Harbor, for example, work crews and volunteers are gutting homes, repairing roofs and clearing streets.
But in other parts of town, stray dogs are the only signs of life, and only the distant sounds of chainsaws and hammers pierce the eerie quiet.
In fact, some of the areas devastated by the storm appear untouched since the hurricane made landfall, without a person in sight.
Utilities have been slow to come back.
“We expect power in Abaco to be fully restored by early summer,” reports Katherine Smith from the Bahama Disaster Reconstruction Authority.
Thoughts of the 2020 hurricane season are adding urgency to the recovery.
Resettling to Rebuild
With so many homes destroyed, there aren’t enough people currently living on the island to rebuild quickly.
“Much of the population in Abaco evacuated or were displaced. And now they are largely unable to return because there is no housing,” explains David Eisenbaum, with the charity All Hands And Hearts. “We need thousands of volunteers. There’s a tremendous need for manpower and the recovery is limited by this shortage of labor.”
To help residents return to the islands, the Bahamian government is setting up dome structures for temporary housing.
“We are shipping in domes that they can stay in as their homes are being rebuilt,” Smith tells CNN. “And we are launching a Small Home Repair Program this month to try to get the homes ready for the next hurricane season, which is right around the corner.”
With a few months to go before the new hurricane season begins this summer, piles of debris that are still sitting along the streets could turn into deadly projectiles if the wind picks up.
Reviving Grand Bahama
Grand Bahama also suffered severe devastation from Dorian. Storm surges up to 20 feet submerged vast parts of the island, swamping more than 4,200 homes according to Smith.
“Some of these homes might partially still be standing, but are not safe to stay in,” explains Katie Wiles, an American Red Cross spokeswoman. “One of the top needs here is also for long-term shelter.”
There’s also a shortage of drinkable water; the storm surges dramatically raised the salinity of Grand Bahama’s water supply.
“After Dorian, the water became extremely salty. Currently, 65% of households are compromised,” reports Iram Lewis, the Bahamas’ minister of state for disaster management and reconstruction. “By March, that number should be down significantly and completely gone by the end of the summer.”
It’s a hint of optimism, boosted by electricity that is now back on across almost all of Grand Bahama.
Yet the devastation to infrastructure and business has crippled the economy. Unemployment for Grand Bahama remains high, and the damage to infrastructure renders tasks beyond meeting the day-to-day needs difficult.
“So many have to now walk on foot through the debris just to receive drinkable water. The everyday challenges they face make it difficult to rebound from this and rebuild,” Wilkes explains. “The level of devastation is so big that it will take a long time for the Bahamas to recover. And they can’t do it alone.”
Many of the international charities who initially responded to Dorian are still on the ground. You can help these organizations continue their work in the Bahamas by clicking the button below or by following this link.
A 14-year-old girl who was kidnapped in Northern California used Snapchat to share her location with her friends, who then called 911, police said.
The girl met Albert Thomas Vasquez, 55, in Capitola on Tuesday, the San Jose Police Department said in statement.
Vasquez gave the girl drugs and she became incapacitated, police said. He called two other men — 34-year-old Antonio Quirino Salvador and 31-year-old Hediberto Gonzalez Avarenga — to help move the girl in their vehicle.
Vasquez then sexually assaulted the girl in the vehicle, police said. The men drove the girl to a motel in San Jose, where they carried her to a room on the second floor and Vasquez sexually assaulted her again, police said.
While in the hotel, the girl used the Snapchat app on her phone to tell her friends that she had been kidnapped, but didn’t know where she was, police said. Her friends determined her location through the app and called 911.
Once police arrived, they found Vasquez leaving the motel room with the girl inside. He was arrested on charges of kidnapping to commit rape, digital penetration with a child under 14 with force, false imprisonment, lewd act with a child and rape by intoxication or controlled substance.
The two other men — Salvador and Avarenga — were arrested Wednesday on charges of kidnapping and conspiracy, police said.
Snapchat is a social media app that allows users to communicate with others through instant pictures and videos. Friends on the app can choose to share their locations with one another if the app is open, according to Snapchat developers.
CNN has not been able to determine whether the men have attorneys.
fox43.com CNN Wire
The FBI has asked the public’s help in locating 32-year-old Jorge Ernesto Rico-Ruvira. They say Rico-Ruvira is on the run with his 3-year-old son after allegedly killing the boy’s mother.
The FBI has asked the public’s help in locating a 32-year-old man they say is on the run with his 3-year-old son after allegedly killing the boy’s mother.
The boy is believed to be in danger, police said.
A state felony arrest warrant charges Jorge Ernesto Rico-Ruvira with one count of murder after he allegedly killed a woman in New Mexico and took off with their toddler son, the federal agency said in a January 10 news released published by the Roswell Police Department.
Officers found the 27-year-old victim, identified by the police department as Isela Mauricio-Sanchez, on January 7.
A federal arrest warrant was also issued for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, according to the news release.
Authorities described Rico-Ruvira as a Hispanic male with brown hair and brown eyes, 5’8″ tall and about 150 pounds.
He is a Mexican citizen, the release said, and “may have fled to Mexico, where he has family in the areas of Zacatecas and Jalisco.”
Police say he is believed to have been in a maroon GMC Yukon.
The young boy is also described by the Roswell Police Department as a Hispanic male, about 2’6” with brown hair and brown eyes.
He was last seen January 5, according to a news release by Amber Alert.
“It is unknown what Osiel was last seen wearing,” the release said. “Osiel Ernesto Rico is missing and is believed to be in danger if not located. It is believed he is in the company of Jorge Rico-Ruvira.”
“(Anyone with information) can now call the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Missing Persons Clearinghouse at 1-800-457-3463. Information can also be called in to the Roswell Police Department at (575) 624-6770,” the police department said.
We recently received a report of a malicious software development kit available through third-party app stores that may have put some people who use Twitter for Android at risk. To keep your account safe, we would encourage you to read this post: https://t.co/zU0tYsGuZ2
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard