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:
The equestrian memorial to Theodore Roosevelt has long prompted objections as a symbol of colonialism and racism.
June 21, 2020Updated 7:28 p.m. ET
The bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt, on horseback and flanked by a Native American man and an African man, which has presided over the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 1940, is coming down.
The decision, proposed by the museum and agreed to by New York City, which owns the building and property, came after years of objections from activists and at a time when the killing of George Floyd has initiated an urgent nationwide conversation about racism.
For many, the “Equestrian” statue at the museum’s Central Park West entrance had come to symbolize a painful legacy of colonial expansion and racial discrimination.
“Over the last few weeks, our museum community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd,” the museum’s president, Ellen V. Futter, said in an interview. “We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism.
“Simply put,” she added, “the time has come to move it.”
The museum took action amid a heated national debate over the appropriateness of statues or monuments that first focused on Confederate symbols like Robert E. Lee and has now moved on to a wider arc of figures, from Christopher Columbus to Thomas Jefferson.
Last week alone, a crowd set fire to a statue of George Washington in Portland, Ore., before pulling it to the ground. Gunfire broke out during a protest in Albuquerque to demand the removal of a statue of Juan de Oñate, the despotic conquistador of New Mexico. And New York City Council members demanded that a statue of Thomas Jefferson be removed from City Hall.
In many of those cases, the calls for removal were made by protesters who say the images are too offensive to stand as monuments to American history. The decision about the Roosevelt statue is different, made by a museum that, like others, had previously defended — and preserved — such portraits as relics of their time and that however objectionable, could perhaps serve to educate. It was then seconded by the city, which had the final say.
“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “The City supports the Museum’s request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”
When the monument will be taken down, where it will go and what, if anything, will replace it, remain undetermined, officials said.
A Roosevelt family member, who is a trustee of the museum, released a statement approving of the removal.
“The world does not need statues, relics of another age, that reflect neither the values of the person they intend to honor nor the values of equality and justice,” said Theodore Roosevelt IV, a great-grandson of the 26th president and a member of the museum’s board of trustees. “The composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy. It is time to move the statue and move forward.”
To be sure, the Roosevelt family did get something in return; the museum is naming its Hall of Biodiversity for Roosevelt “in recognition of his conservation legacy,” Ms. Futter said.
Ms. Futter also made a point of saying that the museum was only taking issue with the statue itself, not with Roosevelt overall, with whom the institution has a long history.
His father was a founding member of the institution; its charter was signed in his home. Roosevelt’s childhood excavations were among the museum’s first artifacts. The museum was chosen by New York’s state legislature for Roosevelt’s memorial in 1920.
The museum already has several spaces named after Roosevelt, including Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda and Theodore Roosevelt Park outside.
“It’s very important to note that our request is based on the statue, that is the hierarchical composition that’s depicted in it,” Ms. Futter said. “It is not about Theodore Roosevelt who served as Governor of New York before becoming the 26th president of the United States and was a pioneering conservationist.”
Critics, though, have pointed to President Roosevelt’s opinions about racial hierarchy and eugenics and his pivotal role in the Spanish-American War.
The statue — created by James Earle Fraser — was one of four memorials in New York that a city commission reconsidered in 2017, ultimately deciding after a split decision to leave the statue in place and to add context.
The museum tried to add that context with an exhibition last year, “Addressing the Statue,” which explored its design and installation, the inclusion of the figures walking beside Roosevelt and Roosevelt’s racism. The museum also examined its own potential complicity, in particular its exhibitions on eugenics in the early 20th century.
The exhibition was partly a response to the defacing of the statue by protesters, who in 2017 splashed red liquid representing blood over the statue’s base. The protesters, who identified themselves as members of the Monument Removal Brigade, later published a statement on the internet calling for its removal as an emblem of “patriarchy, white supremacy and settler-colonialism.”
“Now the statue is bleeding,” the statement said. “We did not make it bleed. It is bloody at its very foundation.”
The group also said the museum should “rethink its cultural halls regarding the colonial mentality behind them.”
At the time, the museum said complaints should be channeled through Mayor de Blasio’s commission to review city monuments and that the museum was planning to update its exhibits. The institution has since undertaken a renovation of its North West Coast Hall in consultation with native nations from the North West Coast of Canada and Alaska.
In January, the museum also moved the Northwest Coast Great Canoe from its 77th Street entrance into that hall, to better contextualize it. The museum’s Old New York diorama, which includes a stereotypical depiction of Lenape leaders, now has captions explaining why the display is offensive.
Mayor de Blasio has made a point of rethinking public monuments to honor more women and people of color — an undertaking led largely by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and the She Built NYC commission. But these efforts have also been controversial, given complaints about the transparency of the process and the public figures who have been excluded, namely Mother Cabrini, a patron saint of immigrants who had drawn the most nominations in a survey of New Yorkers.
On Friday, the Mayor announced that Ms. McCray would lead a Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission whose brief would include reviewing the city’s potentially racist monuments.
Though the debates over many of these statues have been marked by rancor, the Natural History Museum seems unconflicted about removing the Roosevelt monument that has greeted its visitors for so long.
“We believe that moving the statue can be a symbol of progress in our commitment to build and sustain an inclusive and equitable society,” Ms. Futter said. “Our view has been evolving. This moment crystallized our thinking and galvanized us to action.”
The federal government, after watching liberal DA after liberal DA dropping or reducing charges against rioters decided to make sure that would not be the case in attempted murder charges against two lawyers and a woman from upstate in the firebombing attempts on police officers.
Lawyers Urooj Rahman, 31, and Colinford Mattis, 32, are accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a parked NYPD vehicle during the riots in late May in Brooklyn, one of the five boroughs that make up NYC.
They fled and when they were caught, explosive materials were found in their car.
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The feds have now brought seven charges each against the pair.
Those charges include “the use of explosives, arson, use of explosives to commit a felony, arson conspiracy, use of a destructive device, civil disorder, and making or possessing a destructive device.”
U.S. Attorney for the EDNY Richard Donoghue said :
“Such criminal acts should never be confused with legitimate protest. Those who carry out attacks on NYPD Officers or vehicles are not protesters, they are criminals, and they will be treated as such.”
Samantha Shader, 27, is accused of targeting an NYPD vehicle occupied by four police officers also with a Molotov cocktail.
Her device did not explode and the four officers escaped the vehicle with their lives. The same seven charges were lodged against her.
All three are now eligible for sentences that include life sentences and I sincerely hope they all get them. These attacks will never stop until some people get really long prison sentences in which they are not eligible for parole until 20 years have passed.
“Such criminal acts should never be confused with legitimate protest. Those who carry out attacks on NYPD Officers or vehicles are not protesters, they are criminals, and they will be treated as such,” U.S. Attorney for the EDNY Richard Donoghue said in a press release.
“A little more than a week after their arrests, Shader, Mattis, and Rahman have been charged with seven-count indictments in response to their potentially deadly attacks,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney said. “Their criminal behavior risked lives, destroyed equipment that exists to serve the community, siphoned response resources, and created a threat to those who had every right to safely assemble and express their opinion.”
The horrendous vandalism of New York City’s historical St. Patrick’s Cathedral will see no justice. Thank goodness, the perpetrator was caught and arrested. A 26-year-old man from Queens, Yadir Avila Rosas was taken into custody during the early hours of Saturday morning, the NYPD told The New York Post.
Police charged Rosas “with criminal mischief in the third degree and making graffiti, alleging that he was the ‘getaway driver’ for two women who tagged the famous house of worship with spray-painted slogans on May 30” reported The Post.
Unfortunately, the District Attorney decided an arraignment on Saturday was unnecessary. Despite the DA’s lack of action, cops are still looking for the two female suspects who used Rosas as their getaway. Photos have been released and the NYPD is asking the public for help. If anyone has knowledge about the two women, they are asked to call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.
The famous Cathedral was sprayed with the words “F*** F***” in red letters on one exterior wall and “BLM” for Black Lives Matter along with “NYPDK” for “No Justice No Peace.” The victim’s name, George Floyd, was also spray-painted in black letters on part of its stairs.
If the District Attorney declines to prosecute Rosas, will the same be done after the female suspects are found? Is the hard work of the police and helpful public simply going to be flushed down the toilet by the District Attorney? It’s just another example of the uphill battle police departments in liberal cities face; leaders who thwart them, not support them.
An enormous pyramid-topped platform, unnoticed until detected with the help of lasers, is the oldest and largest structure in the Maya region.
By Tim Vernimmen PUBLISHED June 3, 2020
A 3D image of the monumental platform at Aguada Fénix (in dark brown). The structure, built some 3,000 years ago, was detected by an airborne laser tool known as LiDAR.Photograph by Takeshi Inomata
An enormous 3,000-year-old earthen platform topped with a series of structures, including a 13-foot-high pyramid, has been identified as the oldest and largest monumental construction discovered in the Maya region, according to a paper published today in the journal Nature. It’s the latest discovery to support the emerging view that some of the earliest structures built in the Maya region were significantly larger than those built more than a millennium later during the Classic Maya period (250-900 A.D.), when the empire was at its peak.
The discovery took place in Mexico’s Tabasco State at the site of Aguada Fénix, about 850 miles east of Mexico City. It is in a region known as the Maya lowlands, from which the Maya civilization began to emerge.
In 2017, researchers conducted a LiDAR survey that detected the platform and at least nine causeways leading up to it. The groundbreaking laser technology typically is used from aircraft to “see” structures beneath dense tree canopy below, but in this case it revealed a stunning discovery sitting unnoticed in plain sight in Tabasco’s semi-forested ranch lands for centuries, if not millennia.
An aerial view of Aguada Fénix without LiDAR shows how the monument “hides” in semi-forested ranch land.Photograph by Takeshi Inomata
So why was such a big monument at Aguada Fénix not identified earlier?
“It’s fairly hard to explain, but when you walk on the site, you don’t quite realize the enormity of the structure,” says archaeologist Takeshi Inomata of the University of Arizona, the lead author of the paper. “It’s over 30 feet high, but the horizontal dimensions are so large that you don’t realize the height.”
“Rituals we can only imagine”
The initial construction of the platform is believed to have began around 1,000 B.C. based on radiocarbon dating of charcoal inside the complex.
But the absence of any known earlier buildings at Aguada Fénix suggests that at least up until that period, the people living in the region—likely the precursors of the Classic Maya—moved between temporary camps to hunt and gather food. That has researchers speculating over how and why they suddenly decided to build such a massive, permanent structure.
Inomata estimates that the total volume of the platform and the buildings on top is at least 130 million cubic feet, meaning it is bigger even than the largest Egyptian pyramid. He also calculated that it would have taken 5,000 people more than six years of full-time work to build.
“We think this was a ceremonial center,” Inomata says. “[It’s] a place of gathering, possibly involving processions and other rituals we can only imagine.”
No residential buildings have been found on or around the structure, so it is unclear how many people may have lived nearby. But the large size of the platform leads Inomata to think that the builders of Aguada Fénix gradually were leaving their hunter-gatherer lifestyle behind, likely aided by the cultivation of corn—evidence of which also has been found at the site.
“The sheer size is astonishing,” says Jon Lohse, an archaeologist with Terracon Consultants Inc.who studies the early history of the area and was not involved in the report. He does not think, however, that the structure itself is evidence of a settled lifestyle. “Monumental constructions by pre-sedentary people are not uncommon globally.”
What it does unmistakably show, Lohse adds, is an advanced ability for people to collaborate, probably in the strongly egalitarian fashion that he believes was typical of early societies in the Maya region. Inomata agrees, and thinks the platform was built by a community without a strong social hierarchy.
As potential evidence, Inomata points to the even older ceremonial site of San Lorenzo, 240 miles to the west in a region that was settled at the time by the Olmec people. Built at least 400 years earlier than Aguada Fénix, San Lorenzo features an artificial terraced hill that may have had a similar function. But it also has colossal human statues that may indicate that some people held higher status in society than others.
It may seem likely that the people who built Aguada Fénix were inspired by San Lorenzo, but archaeologist Ann Cyphers of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, who has worked at San Lorenzo, considers the sites “quite distinct,” adding that the pottery found there is also very different from that found at Aguada Fénix.
A checkerboard of colored soil
So what might have been the purpose for undertaking such a massive communal building project? Study coauthor Verónica Vázquez López of the University of Calgary believes that it might have been a statement of intent: a formal collaboration designed to bring different groups of people together over the course of several generations.
Some features at Aguada Fénix could suggest this collaboration, such as a cache of precious jade axes that may have symbolized the end of the collaborative construction project. Archaeologists also have noted that some of the layers of soil used to build the platform were laid down in a checkerboard pattern of different soil colors, which may have symbolized the contribution of different groups.
“Even today, people who live in different quarters of some Mexican towns each clean their part of the central church plaza,” Vázquez López observes.
By 750 B.C., the monumental structure at Aguada Fénix was abandoned, and by the Classic Maya period more than 1,000 years later, people in the region were building higher pyramids that became accessible only to the elite atop much smaller platforms with less space for broader communities to gather.
“In the early period, people got very excited,” Inomata says. “Later on, they became a bit less enthusiastic.”
NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken (right) participate in a dress rehearsal for launch at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 23, 2020, ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. Demo-2 will serve as an end-to-end flight test of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, providing valuable data toward NASA certifying the system for regular, crewed missions to the orbiting laboratory under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The launch is now scheduled for 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 30.
Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett
NASA will provide live coverage of prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.
NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 30, for the launch of the first commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft carrying astronauts to the space station. The first launch attempt, on May 27, was scrubbed due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Full mission coverage begins at 11 a.m., and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as numerous other platforms. The launch broadcast commentators are: Marie Lewis, Dan Huot, Gary Jordan, Derrol Nail, and Tahira Allen from NASA; and Lauren Lyons, John Insprucker, and Jessie Anderson from SpaceX; with special guest host and former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin. Postlaunch coverage commentators are Leah Cheshier, Courtney Beasley, Gary Jordan and Dan Huot from NASA; and Kate Tice, Siva Bharadvaj, and Michael Andrews from SpaceX.
Prelaunch coverage also includes a special performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Grammy Award-winning singer Kelly Clarkson.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and is scheduled to dock to the space station at 10:29 a.m. Sunday, May 31.
This will be SpaceX’s final test flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, and landing operations.
The test flight also will provide valuable data toward certification of SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX currently is readying the hardware for the first space station crew rotational mission, which would happen after data from this test flight is reviewed for certification.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, media participation in news conferences will be remote, with only a limited number of media, who already have been accredited, will be accommodated at Kennedy. For the protection of media and Kennedy employees, the Kennedy Press Site News Center facilities will remain closed to all media throughout these events.
To participate by phone in the post-arrival news conference held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, reporters must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than one hour prior to the event.
Live NASA coverage is as follows. All times are EDT:
Friday, May. 29
10 a.m. – Administrator Countdown Clock Briefing (weather permitting; limited in-person media only, no dial in)
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren
NASA astronaut Nicole Mann
Saturday, May 30
11 a.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins (continues through docking)
3:22 p.m. – Liftoff
4:09 p.m. – Crew Dragon phase burn
4:55 p.m. – Far-field manual flight test
TBD p.m. – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon
6:30 p.m. – Postlaunch news conference at Kennedy
Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program
NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester
A media phone bridge will be available for this event. Mission operational coverage will continue on NASA TV’s Media Channel.
Sunday, May 31
TBD a.m. – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon
10:29 a.m. – Docking
12:45 p.m. – Hatch Open
1:05 p.m. – Welcome ceremony
3:15 p.m. – Post-arrival news conference at Johnson
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer
NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester
A media phone bridge will be available for this event. Launch commentary will switch to NASA TV’s Media Channel.
Monday, June 1
11:15 a.m. – Space Station crew news conference, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley
12:55 p.m. – SpaceX employee event and Class of 2020 Mosaic presentation, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley
The deadline for media to apply for accreditation for this launch has passed, but more information about media accreditation is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This test flight is a pivotal point in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil to the space station for the first time since 2011.
The goal of the Commercial Crew Program is to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station. This could allow for additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s testbed for exploration, including preparation for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.
For launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:
In the darkest time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the odds are stacked against the Navajo and Hopi families. Native Americans are in a troubled spot as the world fights against the virus. The disparity of healthcare services and the growing healthy inequity puts Native American citizens at higher risk of contracting liver and respiratory diseases, among many other illnesses.YouTube
Today, Navajo and Hopi share the same dilemma with the rest of Native American families in the time of the COVID-19 crisis. Tribes in the west suffer from overcrowded houses and lack of water supplies. Some houses even shelter up to 15 members because of limited housing. “The overcrowded home situation is at least 16 times the national average,” said Kevin J. Allis, CEO of the National Congress of American Indians.
We’ve already seen a spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases where areas with Native American families are living in one house. Despite the state’s campaign of social distancing and regular washing of hands, families in these areas cannot avoid close-proximity contact because of their living arrangements. Studies also show that 30% of homes in the Navajo nation don’t have running water.GoFundMe
$10 billion of government funding is currently allocated for relief programs. But the animosity between Indian groups and the government remains over when and how the money will be distributed. Allis explains how tribal leaders are doing their best to keep their communities safe from the virus.
The Navajos have instituted strict curfews, checkpoints, and mass testing to curb the rising number of cases. However, not all people own mobile phones. When someone tests positive, authorities have a hard time tracking them down.
Now that the world has seen the plight of Native Americans, a GoFundMe campaign was created to raise money for families of the Navajo and Hopi citizens. The news got around, and donations from Irish people began pouring.CBS This Morning
What drove the Irish people all the way across the Atlantic to help? It was an act of gratitude for what the Native Americans have done to help Ireland during the “Great Hunger” of the 1800s. Let’s take a quick history review.
Back in the mid-1800s, the Choctaw Nation provided $170 (equivalent to $5000 today) to the Irish. The most moving part of the Choctaw Nation’s generosity was how 60,000 Native Americans suffered through the Trail of Tears. Despite the hardships and anguish they already experienced, they continued with their donations, helping thousands of people in Ireland live through the famine.YouTube
One hundred seventy-three years later, Ireland has still never forgotten the kindness extended by the Navajo to their country. “From Ireland, 170 years later, the favour is returned,” Pat Hayes, an Irish donor, wrote in a message. “To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship!”
The fundraising page is now both flooded with both heartfelt messages and donations. “Yá’át’ ééh from Ireland. The Native American donation all those years ago was never forgotten. There have been songs written about your generosity,” one comment said. “I am glad to be able to return the favour in some small part.
Almost 44,000 people were able to donate to the GoFundMe campaign, with nearly $ 2.4 million out of the $ 3 million target.GoFundMe
The GoFundMe page was updated with this message: “Hi folks! My apologies on a delayed update! My last update was 11 days ago, and I reported then that we had broken the $1 million fundraising mark. Well we have now broken the $2 million mark, in good part due to a beautiful act of solidarity from our friends in Ireland, who remember the kindness shown to them by our Choctaw brothers and sisters, who sent them aid during the great potato famine in 1847. Thank you so much, Ireland!!!”
Native American families have lost so much in the time of the pandemic. The Navajo and Hopi tribes have lost elders and children to the disease. “In moments like these, we are grateful for the love and support we have received from all around the world,” Vanessa Tulley, one of the organizers, said.
“Acts of kindness from indigenous ancestors passed being reciprocated nearly 200 years later through blood memory and inter-connectedness. Thank you, IRELAND, for showing solidarity and being here for us.”
The amount of donations support by the Native Americans is proof that we cannot beat COVID-19 alone. Acts like these are what bring us closer together, restoring the faith we have for humanity.
Find out more about the campaign by watching the video below:
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.
Photograph by Joel Sartore, Nat Geo Image Collection Read Caption
The spill drove a push in science and some changes in regulations, but the dangers of offshore drilling remain.
By Alejandra Borunda PUBLISHED April 20, 2020
The BP oil spill of 2010 started suddenly, explosively, and with deadly force. But the response has stretched out for years and scientists say there’s still much more we need to learn.
As a crew on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig worked to close up an exploratory oil well deep under the Gulf of Mexico, a pulse of gas shot up, buckling the drill pipe. The emergency valve designed to cap the well in case of an accident, the “blowout protector,” failed, and the gas reached the drill rig, triggering an explosion that killed 11 crewmembers.
Over the next three months, the uncapped well leaked more than 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools of oil into the Gulf’s waters, making it the biggest oil spill in United States history. The leak pumped out 12 times more oil than the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989.
U.S. Coast Guard fire boats crews battle the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon on April 21, 2010 near New Orleans. An estimated 1,000 barrels of oil a day were still leaking into the Gulf at the time. Photograph by U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images
The spill opened many people’s eyes to the risks of drilling for oil in one of the most ecologically rich, culturally important, and economically valuable parts of the world. But 10 years and billions of dollars in cleanup efforts later, many of the same risks that allowed the disaster to occur remain.
“It took the better part of six to seven years [after the disaster] to get in place the inspection of blowout preventers and rules about making drilling plans safer and putting commonsense regulations in place, but those have been rescinded,” says Ian MacDonald, a scientist at Florida State University. “So basically we’re back to where we were in 2010, in terms of regulatory environment.”
And in some ways, more is known now than ever before about the Gulf and how the spill affected its ecosystems.
“We’re just to the point now where we have enough data to recognize things we missed earlier, and there’s still a lot we don’t know,” says Samantha Joye, a marine scientist at the University of Georgia. “This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Can this kind of spill happen again?
About 17 percent of the U.S.’s total crude oil production comes from offshore projects in the Gulf. Pipelines—26,000 miles of them—connect wells to the processing infrastructure that lines the coast. Before plummeting demand from the coronavirus pandemic drove already-low oil prices lower, the Gulf of Mexico was producing as much crude oil as it had in years.
“Even in times of low prices like today, offshore just keeps going on,” says Gregory Upton, Jr., an energy economist at Louisiana State University.
A severely oiled brown pelican is rescued in Queen Bess Island, Louisiana, after the oil spill.Photograph by Joel Sartore, Nat Geo Image Collection
And drilling for oil in deep offshore waters is inherently dangerous for the people working the platforms, as well as potentially for the environments they’re drilling in.
“Working on the ultra-deep stuff is pretty much like working in outer space,” say Mark Davis, a water law expert at Tulane University.
But conditions on the Deepwater Horizon rig were particularly concerning. After the spill, the commission created by the Obama administration to investigate the spill reached stark, damning conclusions. Many lapses in safety had contributed to the disaster, many of which traced back to a culture both within BP and the industry more broadly that did not value safety enough.
Boats used absorbent booms to corral the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Photograph by Tyrone Turner, Nat Geo Image Collection
A new agency, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), was created to track and enforce offshore drilling safety issues, something that had been handled by the same agency that approved leases to oil companies.
“Before Deepwater, there was this mentality that had set in in the 1990s and 2000s, that the oil and gas industry, as it was going farther offshore, was capable of self-regulating,” says Matt Lee Ashley, a researcher at the Center for American Progress. “Then Deepwater happened and burst that set of assumptions.”
BSEE announced a new set of safety rules for offshore operations in 2016. Among those rules was one that required blowout protectors—the piece that had failed at Deepwater Horizon—to be inspected by a third party, rather than self-certified by the drilling companies. But many of those rules, as well as other safety practices put in place after the disaster, have been weakened in recent years. Most notably, in 2019 the Trump administration finalized rollbacksof several components of the 2016 rules, including the independent safety certification for blowout protectors and bi-weekly testing.
Inspections and safety checks by BSEE have also declined some 13 percent between 2017 and 2019 and there have been nearly 40 percent less enforcement activities in that time compared to previous years, according to Lee Ashley’s analysis.
Today, more than 50 percent of Gulf oil production comes from ultra-deep wells drilled in 4,500 feet or more of water, compared with about 4,000 feet for Deepwater Horizon. The deeper the well, the more the risk: A 2013 study showed that for every hundred feet deeper a well is drilled, the likelihood of a company self-reported incident like a spill or an injury increased by more than 8 percent.
Terry Garcia, former deputy administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a member of a major safety commission convened after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, worries that the safety changes in the years after the disaster didn’t extend broadly enough, either.
“We have this tendency to fight the last war, to prepare for the last incident that occurred,” he says. After the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, for example, new laws and regulations were enacted to deal with future tanker spills. But that focus on the future didn’t happen for oil rigs, and the next disaster is unlikely to look exactly like Deepwater.
A dead black drum fish floats through oiled waters in Grand Isle, Louisiana.Photograph by Joel Sartore, Nat Geo Image Collection
Another concern, says Scott Eustis, the science director at the Louisiana-based Healthy Gulf, a group that focuses on marine protection, comes from the ever-increasing pressures of climate change. Louisiana, which has the most comprehensive climate adaptation plan in the region, is expecting the number and intensity of major hurricanes to increasewithin the next 50 years. Each storm that blows through the Gulf threatens offshore drilling infrastructure.
“Since Deepwater Horizon, we’ve taken two steps forward and one step back, and that one step back is worrying because we could very much end up in a similar situation,” says Lee Ashley.
What we know about the spill’s effects
After the spill, BP agreed to pay out more than $20 billion in penalties and damages, with around $13 billion directed toward restoration and a vast research effort in the region.
But scientists realized they lacked much of the basic background science necessary to predict where, when, and how the oil would spread or what its impacts on the region would be.
At first, it was difficult even to assess how much oil spilled from the well. Early initial assessments were low—but satellite imagery revealed that there was much more oil than had been reported. The final tally showed that the spill dumped more than 200 million gallons of oil.
Oil continued to sink to the ocean floor for more than a year, a recent study shows. It changed the amounts of sediment collecting on the bottom of the sea for years afterwardand choked them of oxygen. Immediately after the spill, the 1,300 miles of contaminated coasts saw oil concentrations 100 times higher than background levelsl even eight years later, concentrations were 10 times higher than before the spill. And In February of this year, a study showed that the footprint of the oil spread some 30 percent wider than previously estimated, potentially contaminating many more fish communities than previously thought.
“It’s astounding,” says Joye. “We underestimated so many of the impacts when we were first looking.” Only after a decade of sustained observation, she says, have the true impacts of the spill started to become clear.
The paradoxical effect of the spill is that scientists know more about the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the physics, ecology, and chemistry of oil spills, than they ever would have otherwise.
The white sand beaches of Orange Beach, Alabama are covered with oil.Photograph by Tyrone Turner, Nat Geo Image Collection
It was clear from the moment the spill began that there were many basic science questions that were unknown about this area of the world, like ocean currents and wind patterns, knowledge gaps that hindered the recovery process.
“The first fundamental issue we faced in 2010 was a chronic lack of baseline data,” says Joye.
For example, no high-resolution map of the seafloor existed, information that would have helped scientists understand where the bottom-dwelling creatures of the Gulf might be affected. Driven by the disaster, federal scientists produced a map in 2016.
“It was crucial to be able to detect and predict where the oil would go,” says Oscar Garcia Pineda, a satellite expert. In 2010, it took days to get satellite images downloaded and processed; today the response time is about 20 minutes, he says. In conjunction with studies that used drifters, boats, drones, and other techniques, scientists have deepened their understanding of the Gulf’s restless movements.
But there’s much more still to learn, say Joye and MacDonald; it’s crucial to set up long-term monitoring programs so scientists can be better prepared for the inevitable next disaster.
“We need much better oceanographic data,” says MacDonald, “so we’re not trying to model after the fact whether Florida is going to get hit by this oil spill, or if it’ll go the other way.”
And other knowledge gaps also engender risk. For example, a 2004 hurricane triggered underwater landslides at another drilling site in the Gulf. The mudslide broke the drilling rig away from the well, leaving it leaking hundreds of barrels a day. But the mudslide risk across the Gulf hasn’t yet been thoroughly mapped out.
“There was a dearth of knowledge. It’s that old adage, ‘you can’t manage what you don’t understand’—well, you can’t protect what you don’t understand,” says Garcia. Why is there drilling in the Gulf of Mexico?
The reason the Deepwater Horizon well existed in the first place? Hundreds of billions of barrels of fossil fuel energy are buried deep beneath the Gulf’s seafloor.
Oil seeps from the floor of the Gulf naturally, in small volumes. The phenomenon has been long known to people who lived and traveled along its marshy shores and coastlines. Hernan de Soto, a Spanish explorer who sailed through the Gulf in 1543, used the gummy oil his sailors collected from the beaches to patch up his wooden ships. Tribal communities gathered tar that caught in the tangled cordgrass of the sandy barrier islands and used it for art and to waterproof pots.
Offshore drilling began in the late 1930s. The first site, Louisiana’s Creole platform, squatted just a mile and a half off the coast, its wooden legs sprouting up through water 14 feet deep.
By the 1950s, engineers were gaining ambition and confidence, nudging the limits of their drilling activities deeper and deeper, following the long, broad slope of the seafloor that tilted away from the Gulf’s shores. By 2000, over 300 operating oil rigs and thousands of platforms dotted the wide, shallow slope. But they pushed further, out to where the ground drops away sharply. Geologists’ glimpses into that underground world, from seismic observations and experimental drill holes, hinted at millions of barrels of oil lurking below, if only the drillers could get to it.
The Deepwater Horizon well, drilled in 2009, pushed the limits of that deep drilling. At its creation, it was the deepest well ever drilled, punching over 35,000 feet down into the ground below the sea, in water over 4,000 feet deep.
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.”
Today in History: In 1965, Martin Luther King and 25,000 civil rights activists completed a 5-day march to Montgomery, Alabama 5-7 minutes King and his followers marched to the state capitol from Selma, Alabama to protest the denial of voting rights to African-Americans MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Today is Wednesday, March 25, the 85th day of 2020. There are 281 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On March 25, 1965, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led 25,000 people to the Alabama state capitol in Montgomery after a five-day march from Selma to protest the denial of voting rights to blacks. Later that day, civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, a white Detroit homemaker, was shot and killed by Ku Klux Klansmen. On this date: In 1634, English colonists sent by Lord Baltimore arrived in present-day Maryland. In 1894, Jacob S. Coxey began leading an “army” of unemployed from Massillon, Ohio, to Washington, D.C., to demand help from the federal government. In 1911, 146 people, mostly young female immigrants, were killed when fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in New York. In 1915, the U.S. Navy lost its first commissioned submarine as the USS F-4 sank off Hawaii, claiming the lives of all 21 crew members. In 1931, in the so-called “Scottsboro Boys” case, nine young black men were taken off a train in Alabama, accused of raping two white women; after years of convictions, death sentences and imprisonment, the nine were eventually vindicated. In 1947, a coal-dust explosion inside the Centralia Coal Co. Mine No. 5 in Washington County, Illinois, claimed 111 lives; 31 men survived. In 1960, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, ruled that the D.H. Lawrence novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” was not obscene and could be sent through the mails. Ray Charles recorded “Georgia on My Mind” as part of his “The Genius Hits the Road” album in New York. In 1963, private pilot Ralph Flores and his 21-year-old passenger, Helen Klaben, were rescued after being stranded for seven weeks in brutally cold conditions in the Yukon after their plane crashed. In 1985, “Amadeus” won eight Academy Awards, including best picture, best director for Milos (MEE’-lohsh) Forman and best actor for F. Murray Abraham. In 1988, in New York City’s so-called “Preppie Killer” case, Robert Chambers Jr. pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of 18-year-old Jennifer Levin. (Chambers received 5 to 15 years in prison; he was released in 2003 after serving the full sentence.) In 1990, 87 people, most of them Honduran and Dominican immigrants, were killed when fire raced through an illegal social club in New York City. In 2018, in an interview with “60 Minutes,” adult film star Stormy Daniels said she had been threatened and warned to keep silent about an alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump in 2006. A fire at a shopping mall in a Siberian city in Russia killed more than 60 people, including 41 children. Ten years ago: Osama bin Laden threatened in a new message to kill any Americans al-Qaida captured if the U.S. executed Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, or other al-Qaida suspects. Defense Secretary Robert Gates approved new rules easing enforcement of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military. Daisuke Takahashi gave Japan its first men’s title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin, Italy. Five years ago: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani thanked the U.S. Congress for billions of American tax dollars and vowed his war-wracked country would be self-reliant within the decade. British singer Zayn Malik shocked his fans by announcing he was quitting the chart-topping band One Direction. One year ago: UFC superstar Conor McGregor announced his retirement on social media. Apple announced the launch of a video streaming service, Apple TV Plus, that could compete with Netflix and Amazon with ad-free original series and films. Today’s Birthdays: Movie reviewer Gene Shalit is 94. Former astronaut James Lovell is 92. Feminist activist and author Gloria Steinem is 86. Singer Anita Bryant is 80. Actor Paul Michael Glaser is 77. Singer Sir Elton John is 73. Actress Bonnie Bedelia is 72. Actress-comedian Mary Gross is 67. Actor James McDaniel is 62. Former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., is 62. Movie producer Amy Pascal is 62. Rock musician Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet) is 60. Actress Brenda Strong is 60. Actor Fred Goss is 59. Actor-writer-director John Stockwell is 59. Actress Marcia Cross is 58. Author Kate DiCamillo is 56. Actress Lisa Gay Hamilton is 56. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker is 55. Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Glavine is 54. TV personality Ben Mankiewicz is 53. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Debi Thomas is 53. Actor Laz Alonso is 49. Singer Melanie Blatt (All Saints) is 45. Actor Domenick Lombardozzi is 44. Actor Lee Pace is 41. Actor Sean Faris is 38. Comedian-actor Alex Moffat (TV: “Saturday Night Live”) is 38. Former auto racer Danica Patrick is 38. Actress-singer Katharine McPhee is 36. Comedian-actor Chris Redd (TV: “Saturday Night Live”) is 35. Singer Jason Castro is 33. Rapper Big Sean is 32. Rap DJ-producer Ryan Lewis is 32. Actor Matthew Beard is 31. Actress-singer Aly (AKA Alyson) Michalka is 31. Actor Kiowa Gordon is 30. Actress Seychelle Gabriel is 29. Thought for Today: “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally.” — Flannery O’Connor, American author (1925-1964).
Today is National #MedalofHonorDay, a time to remember the 3,500+ heroes who received the nation’s highest award for valor. In these extraordinary times, it is important to remember those who came before us and sacrificed much for our nation. pic.twitter.com/7miUWfpCEd
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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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.
"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