News and Headlines. 3/23/2020

News and Headlines: In The News, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:

Surprise, surprise: Florida university announces at least 5 spring breakers have tested positive for COVID-19

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In a statement, the university tweeted,

“UT has been notified that five UT students, traveling together and with other UT students during Spring Break, have tested positive for COVID-19.

We sincerely wish our students, and any others who may be affected, a full and rapid recovery.”

“The Florida Department of Health is following its protocol to identify, notify and quarantine any individuals that have had contact with these individuals,” the university said, according to the outlet.

Trump provides federal funds for National Guard in three states; they keep control, federal government foots bill as COVID-19 cases rise

Colorado National Guard medical personnel prepare to perform coronavirus test on a motorist at a drive-through testing site
Colorado National Guard medical personnel prepare to perform coronavirus test on a motorist at a drive-through testing site outside the Denver Coliseum on Saturday in Denver. Officials planned to administer 150 tests but the line of vehicles wrapped around three city blocks. (David Zalubowski/AP)

As the number of coronavirus cases increases in the U.S., President Donald Trump Sunday night ordered National Guard troops in three states to operate under a status that allows them to be managed by state governors, but be paid by the federal government.

“We want to win this war with as few deaths as possible,” Trump said Sunday afternoon.

“Today, I am announcing action to help New York, California, and Washington, to ensure that the National Guard can effectively respond. The National Guard, these are tremendous people. Fully on alert. It has been activated.”

The move will make it easier for states, already facing increasing costs as a result of the pandemic, to call in the National Guard if needed to help deal with the problems caused by COVID-19.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds death penalty in Osage County quadruple homicide

Kahler shot his estranged wife, Karen; their two daughters, Lauren and Emily, and his wife’s grandmother, Dorothy Wight, while letting his 10-year-old son, Sean, escape the scene in Burlingame.

Kahler’s lawyers have argued severe depression and mental illnes made it impossible for Kahler to understand reality or know his actions were wrong.

The Supreme Court’s decision opened the door for states to adopt similar restrictions on the insanity defense already in place in Kansas, Alaska, Utah, Montana and Idaho.

2 men arrested in connection with ATM explosions across Tampa Bay area

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 33-year-old Mawdo Sallah, of Clearwater, and 34-year-old Kirk Johnson, of Anderson, South Carolina, took nearly $70,000 from the blown-up ATMs in the Tampa Bay area between November 2019 and January 2020.

The two were arrested on Sunday, March 22, after setting off an explosion at an ATM in Watkinsville, Georgia.

Both Sallah and Johnson are being charged with conspiring to commit arson.

Cuyahoga County Jail officer accused of trying to kill family members by setting Brook Park apartment on fire, officials say

Cuyahoga County Jail officer Neil Osborne is charged with attempted murder.
Cuyahoga County Jail officer Neil Osborne is charged with attempted murder.

Neil Osborne, 37, is charged with attempted murder and aggravated arson. He is awaiting trial at the Cuyahoga County Jail on $1 million bond.

Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan said jail officials are seeking to transfer him to another jail, as they do with all officers who become inmates.

The county hired Osborne as a corrections officer in 2007.

Police: Williamson County man indicted on charges of abuse, says he hit child 8 times with belt

A Williamson County man’s case was bound forward to criminal circuit court after authorities say his child arrived at school with bruises all over the child’s body.

Yoel Gonzalez Boyzo’s case is one of the first child abuse cases in 2020 to transition from general sessions to circuit criminal because of the severity of the case.

After his bond was originally set at $1 million, Boyzo was released from the Williamson County Jail on a $20,000 surety bond.

The grand jury indicted Boyzo in March on charges of abuse of a child 8 years old or younger, which is a Class D felony.

Crowds inundated Bay Area beaches. They’re violating shelter-in-place orders.

Photo: Marin County Fire Department
Photo: Marin County Fire Department

Marin County Fire posted images of Stinson Beach packed with people and the West Marin town of Dillon Beach mired by gridlock traffic on Saturday.

“We understand the communities’ frustration with the LARGE amount of people traveling to the Coast today and NOT adhering to the Shelter Order,” the fire department tweeted. “The influx of people is putting our vulnerable residents at risk. Please stay at home!”

The trails and beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore especially saw an influx of people over the weekend.

One day after scolding the public for packing its beaches and parks despite a statewide shelter-in-place order due to the coronavirus pandemic, Marin County on Sunday announced it was closing all federal, state and local parks.

PG&E to plead guilty to lethal crimes in 2018 wildfires

In this Nov. 14, 2018, file photo, firefighters and deputies carry the body of a Camp Fire victim at the Holly Hills Mobile Estates in Paradise, Calif.
In this Nov. 14, 2018, file photo, firefighters and deputies carry the body of a Camp Fire victim at the Holly Hills Mobile Estates in Paradise, Calif. Pacific Gas & Electric said Monday,(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

The plea agreement announced Monday resolves the charges facing PG&E as part of a previously sealed indictment in Butte County.

It marks the second time this decade that the company’s neglect has culminated in it being deemed a criminal.

PG&E already is serving a five-year criminal probation imposed after it was convicted of six felony counts for falsifying records and other safety violations underlying a natural gas explosion that blew up a neighborhood and killed eight people in San Bruno, California.

Bloomberg sued by aides for stiffing them on yearlong pay promise

Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The promise of sustained pay months after a campaign ends is exceedingly rare in politics. But in more than a dozen interviews with POLITICO, the former aides said it was key to their decision to join.

Bloomberg quickly amassed a staff of thousands after launching in November, then ended his campaign after a feeble showing on Super Tuesday.

Since news of their dismissal, scores of former Bloomberg staffers have been organizing online in preparation for taking legal action.

They’ve established several chat and email groups to share their experiences, with many expressing deep frustrations about losing their pay and health care benefits in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Aside from the action filed Monday, there are believed to be other claims coming from other groups of ex-staffers.

Poll: Half of Americans approve of Trump’s coronavirus response

President Donald Trump. | Patrick Semansky/AP Photo
President Donald Trump. | Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

A Monmouth University poll released Monday reports that 50 percent of respondents believe Trump has done a “good job” dealing with the outbreak, while 45 percent say he has done a “bad job.”

Three percent of those surveyed said they had a mixed review of Trump’s performance, and 1 percent did not have an opinion.

The president’s net positive rating is starkly partisan, with 89 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats assessing that he has done a “good job” handling the public health crisis.

Ohio Planned Parenthood Ignores State Order Banning Elective Surgical Abortions During Coronavirus Crisis

On Friday, March 20, the Ohio Attorney General’s office issued a letter to Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio’s Cincinnati Surgery Center and another to the Women’s Med Center in Dayton that pointed out that the non-essential and or elective surgeries and procedures utilizing personal protective equipment the two organizations were continuing to perform must be canceled.

But as the pro-life organization Live Action pointed out, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio’s Cincinnati Surgery Center thumbed its nose at the state, writing on its Facebook page the very next day that it was “complying” with the order, but added,

“Under that order, Planned Parenthood can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion … Our doors remain open.”

Third Time’s a Charm: NYT Changes Headline on Failed Relief Bill to ‘Absolve Democrats From Blame’

Source: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file
Source: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file

The New York Times tweaked its headline three times on a story about Democrats blocking a coronavirus stimulus package on Sunday.

The first iteration was surprisingly critical.

Then, however, you see “Democrats block” turn into “partisan divide.”

Team Trump pointed out the changes.

How to get financial help amid coronavirus outbreak

While some states are taking steps to help their citizens maintain financial stability during the outbreak — such as instilling protections against penalizations for late rent — there are a handful of resources that people can turn to.

The government has set up, which walks users through various options for benefits and relief during the coronavirus outbreak.

The site even has a questionnaire aimed at helping users find which benefits apply to them.



Pelosi’s coronavirus bill proposes election audits, same-day voter registration

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., arrives to speak outside her office on Capitol Hill, Monday, March 23, 2020.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., arrives to speak outside her office on Capitol Hill, Monday, March 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

The bill unveiled Monday includes a section calling for “grants for conducting risk-limiting audits of results of elections.”

Such action generally requires a manual review of statistical samples of paper ballots to see if official election results were tallied correctly.

The measure also would require early voting in states, and same-day voter registration.

“They are delaying direct assistance so they can play to the liberal left,” Mr. Barrasso said. “They want to put up an entire cap and trade system for the airline industry.

Nancy Pelosi has been pushing this extreme environmental agenda from the moment she cut the deal to remain as speaker.”

John Kennedy: Public sees ‘a bunch of idiots’ running the country during coronavirus outbreak

In a speech from the floor on Monday, Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, said the discord is leading the public to believe the country is run by a “bunch of idiots.”

“Do you know what the American people are thinking right now?” Kennedy asked.

“They’re thinking that the brain is an amazing organ. It starts working in a mother’s womb, and it doesn’t stop working until you get elected to Congress.”

“I get politics. I have been around it my whole life. But there comes a time when we have to stop thinking about the next election and start thinking about the next generation.

What are we going to leave to our children if we allow this economy to crash? And it is happening as we speak,” Kennedy said.

Pelosi Announces Her Own COVID-19 Plan as Senate Leaders Clash Over Details

Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to members of the media in Washington, on March 13, 2020.
Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to members of the media in Washington, on March 13, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

She characterized her bill as one that “takes responsibility for the health, wages, and well-being of America’s workers.”

Rachel Bovard, senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute, shared what she indicated were fragments of Pelosi’s bill.

One part talks about the value of collective bargaining for federal employees, while another requires airlines to fully offset their carbon emissions.

“You know what families who can’t work and are struggling to make rent really care about?

Being able to look up greenhouse gas emissions from the flights they can’t afford to book,” Bovard needled in a tweet that cited Section 706 of the bill, about “improving consumer information regarding release of greenhouse gases from flights.”

Barr says John Durham’s Russia investigation persists during coronavirus outbreak

Attorney General William Barr told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Monday that Durham, the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut, was in Washington, D.C., last week working on the high-profile inquiry with staffers.

“There’s some discombobulation, but part of what we’re trying to do is keep up the mission,” Barr said of the Justice Department’s commitment to proceed with criminal investigations, prioritize coronavirus-related fraud prosecutions, keep the justice system functioning amid court closures and trial suspensions, and pursue other Trump administration priorities during a deadly outbreak.

Last week, Fox News reported that Durham was on pace to finish his “investigation of the investigators” by the summer.

Susan Collins Says Dems Are ‘Playing With Fire’ in Blocking Action on Coronavirus Relief Bill

Lawmakers are trying to come to an agreement when it comes to a third coronavirus stimulus package.

However, on Sunday, Republicans and Democrats clashed as Democrats blocked the nearly $2 trillion package from moving forward.

The Senate didn’t have the votes — as it was 47-47 vote — to advance the legislation.

Among those who offered criticism was Collins, who said, “This is irresponsible and unwise. They are playing with fire,” according to The New York Times.

‘Pelosi owns THIS’: Kimberley Strassel takes Dems APART for voting against very Coronavirus Relief Bill they helped WRITE

Kimberley Strassel came out swinging at Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats after Senate Democrats voted to block the very Coronavirus Relief Bill they helped craft over the weekend.

Schumer was out trying to call it the ‘McConnell-GOP’ bill because he thinks people are stupid… sadly, his supporters are BUT the rest of America is pissed off.

And they should be.

Democrats want to play politics while average, working Americans hope against hope they don’t lose their jobs this week. Remember this the next time one of these a-holes tells you they care about the working man.

Kimberley Strassel said it best:

FBI Surveillance | Full Measure

Amid the coronavirus panic, a quiet investigation has begun on Capitol Hill led by Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham.

He’s already begun interviewing unnamed government officials.

It involves accountability for the FBI’s improper wiretaps against a government citizen who happened to be affiliated with the Trump campaign.

McConnell sounds off on Senate Dems for politicizing coronavirus relief

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lit into Democrats, specifically alleging they were trying to extract concessions from airlines over their “carbon footprint,” with the economy hanging in the balance.

Republicans say Dems blocking coronavirus relief over ‘ideological wish list’

On the Senate floor shortly after noon on Monday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lit into Democrats, specifically alleging they were trying to extract concessions from airlines over their “carbon footprint,” with the economy hanging in the balance.

“They ought to be embarrassed,” he said. “This is no time for this nonsense.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer countered that they were dealt an exclusively Republican-authored bill.

Democrats overnight blocked the massive economic rescue package, teeing up new negotiations Monday morning. But issues having nothing to do with coronavirus have become impediments to the relief package, according to a senior Republican aide.

World News:

First Israeli victim of COVID19; Number of confirmed cases over 1250 – TV7 Israel News 23.03.20

1) Israel continues to battle the spread of the coronavirus, as the number of people infected with the contagion rose to 1,238 confirmed cases, as of 10 O’clock this morning, 24 of whom are in serious condition.

2) a first victim of the coronavirus was reported over the weekend. 88-year-old Aryeh Even, a Holocaust survivor who suffered from previous illnesses, succumbed to the disease after battling the contagion for a week.

3) Ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel refuse to comply to the government’s restrictions – declaring that the study of the Torah and prayer is the only way to stop the coronavirus from spreading.

Pompeo makes unannounced trip to Afghanistan to aid peace process

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani meet in Kabul, Afghanistan,
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani meet in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday. Photo courtesy of Sediq Sediqqi/Afghan government

Pompeo arrived in Kabul and held separate and combined talks with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, a candidate for president last year who has disputed the results of the election.

Their disagreement has hampered the Kabul government and fanned fears that the window to implement a historic peace deal between the United States and the Taliban is quickly closing.

Abdullah said he and Pompeo talked “about the critical significance of the Afghan peace process as well as the need to resolve the current political crisis rooted in the recent election.”

The trip is the first venture abroad for Pompeo since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.

Tokyo 2020: Olympics to be postponed until 2021, says IOC member

It comes after the chairman of the British Olympic Association said Great Britain would be unlikely to send a team to Tokyo this summer.

Australia and Canada have already said they will not compete in Japan.

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told USA today.

Iranian Officials Stole More Than $1 Billion in Coronavirus Funds, Pompeo Says

Mike Pompeo / Getty Images
Mike Pompeo / Getty Images

European countries intended for more than $1 billion in aid to go to the Iranian people, who have been ravaged by the virus.

But American officials say regime leaders instead pocketed the money to protect themselves from the virus as it spreads throughout the population.

This includes hoarding medical supplies that were meant to aid Iranian citizens.

Pompeo said part of the reason Iran has become a hotspot for the coronavirus is that the regime refuses to stop flights between Tehran and China.

Coronavirus: Colombian Prison Riot Kills 23, Injuring Dozens More


Even though disturbances took place in 12 prisons nationwide, only in the La Modelo prison in Bogotá were significant injuries and loss of life.

According to sources that spoke with El Tiempo, the structure of the prison does not allow for guards to rapidly carry out the necessary protocols to restrict movement and place the facility on lockdown.

Cell phone footage posted across social media on Saturday showed graphic scenes within the prisons, including fires and violence against prisoners and guards.

In one video, a prisoner complained that inmates had been “abandoned like dogs” during the outbreak.

Germany’s coronavirus cases may be ‘flattening’ as deaths in Italy and Spain still rising

People keep distance as they queue on a small weekly market in Frankfurt, Germany
People keep distance as they queue on a small weekly market in Frankfurt, Germany, early Saturday, March 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

The exponential upward curve in new coronavirus infections in Germany may be flattening off, according to the head of the country’s public health institute, who said stringent social distancing measures, including school closures and bans on public gatherings, as well as hand washing instructions, helped the public quickly slow the rate of infection.

Though Germany recorded at least 26,220 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, as of Monday morning, only at least 111 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In Spain, the death toll spiked to at least 2,182 people Monday morning, which was up from the 1,720 deaths recorded the day prior, according to the country’s health ministry.

At least 33,089 people in Spain were infected with the coronavirus, up from the 28,572 cases recorded in the previous tally.


Confucius Institutes | Full Measure

Today, a China connection to our colleges. Some are urging American colleges to shut down their China-funded Confucius Institutes.

Critics claims the learning centers could be used as tools for China to spy, and influence our students.

Defenders say the threat is overblown. Joce Sterman investigates.